Story: Taranaki tribe

Page 4. Resistance

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Te Ua Haumēne

From the conflict over land in Taranaki emerged a new religion, founded by Te Ua Haumēne. Te Ua had been captured by Waikato in a raid on Taranaki in 1826, and was subsequently exposed to missionary teachings. In the 1850s he joined Māori opposition to land sales, and fought against the government in 1860. Te Ua’s understanding of Christianity and his belief in the need for Māori to retain land fused in September 1862. That year, he had a vision of the Archangel Gabriel commanding him to lead his people in casting off the yoke of the Pākehā. The angel promised him that the birthright of Israelites (the Māori people) would be restored in the land of Canaan (New Zealand) following a day of deliverance in which the unrighteous would perish.

The Hauhau (Pai Mārire) faith

Te Ua called his church Hauhau, because Te Hau – the breath of God – carried the news of deliverance to the faithful. Although the founding principle of the faith was pai mārire (goodness and peace), it was subverted by violent elements, much to the disappointment of some of its members, who included Te Matakātea and Te Whiti-o-Rongomai. As the prophets of the faith travelled around the North Island between 1864 and 1867 to spread its teachings, they were drawn into armed conflicts with government forces. The Hauhau faith, however, was to influence the development of other Māori religious movements, and it has survived into the 21st century.

Parihaka

From the mid-1860s Parihaka, a Māori settlement in the Taranaki tribal area, became the centre of a peaceful resistance movement. The movement involved not only other Taranaki tribes, but Māori from a number of tribes around the country. Its leaders, Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, were of both Taranaki and Te Āti Awa descent. The confiscation of land was now the central problem faced by Taranaki Māori, and under Te Whiti’s leadership a new approach to this issue was developed: that of resisting European settlement of the confiscated land through non-violent methods.

Peaceful resistance

In 1879, when the government started surveying confiscated land on the Waimate plain, followers of Te Whiti began disrupting surveys and ploughing and fencing land occupied by settlers. Many were arrested and held without trial in the South Island, but the protests continued and intensified. Finally in November 1881, the government sent a force of over 1,500 troops to Parihaka. Its inhabitants were arrested or driven away, and the village was later demolished. Te Whiti and Tohu were arrested and imprisoned until 1883. In their absence Parihaka was rebuilt and the ploughing campaigns continued into the 1890s. The imprisonment of Parihaka protesters without trial also continued until the late 1890s.

How to cite this page:

Te Miringa Hōhaia, 'Taranaki tribe - Resistance', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/taranaki-tribe/page-4 (accessed 19 December 2018)

Story by Te Miringa Hōhaia, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 22 Mar 2017