May 7, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Witnessing Parihaka (8pm Weds, May 11 – ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre)

3 min read

Kia ora koutou

This panui is to invite you to the performance of Witnessing Parihaka a new semi-staged orchestral piece that tells of the inspiring stand made by the people of Parihaka in 1881 – led by Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi.

There will also be a public forum on Parihaka to be held the night before at 6pm, Tuesday May 10 in central Auckland City (see below for more information).

Witnessing Parihaka 8pm Wednesday, May 11 – ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland City.

Performing this piece will be a 75 piece orchestra the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, nga kotiro o Parihaka, Te Huirangi Waikerepuru, Kui Whero (Poppy) Bailey, Te Kohe Tuhaka and Stuart Devenie – this will be a one-off performance.

Witnessing Parihaka the Art of Passive Resistance – a description of the piece:
The piece begins and ends with waiata, karakia and a short poem that evoke the beautiful and powerful symbols of Parihaka and Taranaki. The central section is comprised of a series of short vignettes – mini soliloquies, in which eye witnesses to the events surrounding the invasion and plundering of Parihaka in November 1881 speak in their own voice about what took place on this historic day. None of these characters are the principal protagonists but all are witnesses to the non-violent resistance and inspiring peaceful stand made by the people of Parihaka. The characters are: a field press reporter, two Parihaka children (Little Voice and Big Voice), a constabulary soldier, a Parihaka villager and the six pounder Armstrong Gun that overlooks the settlement. Traditional waiata from Parihaka are incorporated into the piece as well as the unique and distinct performance practice of the drum Haruru ki Tawhiti. The text has been written by the poet Robert Sullivan.

Rongo means peace
Maunga means a mountain
Mountain of peace
E tu Taranaki

Witnessing Parihaka is being performed at the opening concert of the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival – the concert is called Works with Words. Also on the programme will be five other pieces (for actor and orchestra) the text and music for all of these pieces are by local writers and composers. Auckland Readers and Writers Festival is an annual festival celebrating the written word – where national and international guests attend and discuss the art of writing.

For tickets go to:

Public Forum on Parihaka 6pm Tuesday, May 10
6-8pm, Whare Wananga Level Two Auckland Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne St, Auckland City
This is a public forum to discuss and impart knowledge on Parihaka – an opportunity to share experiences and information – it is a free event – everyone is very welcome to attend.

For information about Parihaka go to:

Letting others know:
Please forward this panui to any one who you think might be interested.
If you are able to pass out some flyers and posters to others, and need some printed copies, let us know and we will post some out to you.

Nga mihi nui, na Stephen
Stephen Matthews
School of Music, University of Auckland, Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau, [email protected]

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