Healing Wounds at Parihaka

Tears were shed at Parihaka last month when more than a thousand people gathered to hear the Crown apologise for desecrating the peaceful Taranaki settlement in 1881.

Published: Tuesday, 4 July 2017 | Rātū, 04 Hōngongoi, 2017

Parihaka uri Puna Wano-Bryant said the time was right for an apology but it stirred up mixed feelings.

 “A whole lot of emotions came back like anger,” she said.

“It was the opening of a wound that had not been repaired properly – that was stitched up wrong.”

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said Crown troops destroyed homes and sacred sites, unlawfully arrested hundreds of men and abused the women who were left behind.

 “The Crown therefore offers its deepest apologies to the people of Parihaka for all its failures,” he said.

“For them, the sense of grievance that arises from that history is anything but historical. It is remembered and lived every day.”

While the Parihaka Papakāinga Trust has dreams of new infrastructure and papakāinga developments at Parihaka – that was a way off.

Chair Mrs Wano Bryant said the focus was now on healing and moving forward.

 “Some people are staunch about covering that wound up immediately because it is too sore,” she said.

“We are not going to put buildings on top of pain.”

Te Puni Kōkiri kaimahi in Te Tai Hauāuru will continue working with the Trust to help it achieve its goals.

Mrs Wano-Bryant said they have been a crucial part of the whole process being successful.

“When we mentioned working with Te Puni Kōkiri to our people, it was familiar for them.

“There is that level of trust there.”

The Deed of Reconciliation included a payment of $9 million towards developments at Parihaka.