At our last report we were in the Tongariro National Park where we hiked the 19km Tongariro Crossing among other activities. From there we travelled to the Taranaki region where we were hosted on two marae at Waiokura and Parihaka Pa. Waiokura is home to the Nga Ruahine people who have recently settled with The Crown over land confiscation grievances in the period 1860 - 1890. Parihaka is home to one of the most shameful episodes of European colonization whereby a thriving, self sustaining village of 2000 Maori was over run by the British on November 5, 1881. The leaders of Parihaka promoted peaceful opposition, such as ploughing survey markers and fence lines, in the face of the different tactics used by the colonial governments to acquire indigenous land. The men of the village were shackled and imprisoned without trial in primitive conditions in different parts of the South Island. Many never returned to their Taranaki homes. Many of the women and children of Parihaka were grossly mistreated before being banished from the village which was effectively razed to the ground. Parihaka people have not reached a settlement with The Crown, and to hear the pain and burden of their history was palpable and saddening. A Parihaka Trust is negotiating with government about a potential Crown apology and a settlement that might help Parihaka become a self sustaining community once again.
While in Taranaki we also visited Opunake High School, attended a surf school at Opunake Beach, visited the Kapune Natural Gas Plant and hiked the Wilkes Falls trail on the slopes of Mount Taranaki, the magnificent volcano that gives the region its name.
While in the South Island we will stay at Punakaiki, Franz Josef Glacier, Te Anau and marae at Colac Bay and Bluff.
Glenn, Meg and David.