The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Bishop aims to transform attitudes with Parihaka resource

Event date: 
11 Jun 2015

Parihaka is the focus of a new educational resource produced by Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand at the request of Catholic Bishop Charles Drennan to help transform attitudes and promote reconciliation by acknowledging a Māori account of historic injustices.

"The people of Parihaka encountered grave injustice and unresolved tensions remain with people who have grown up in the region, and yet remain reluctant to accept anything but the sanitised settler account of history," says Bishop of Palmerston North Diocese Charles Drennan.

"I am confident, however, that with increased knowledge and dialogue, a greater level of understanding and respect will emerge. For those of us who belong to the Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North, of which Taranaki is a part, this story is of particular significance."

The resource booklet Parihaka o neherā, o nāianei/Parihaka - past and present will be officially launched by Bishop Drennan at the Catholic Education Convention on Thursday, 11 June. Held at the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington, the three-day event is expected to attract more than 800 educators from around the country.

Dr Ruakere Hond, a Parihaka community leader, will also speak at the launch about this vibrant, modern-day community of people that share a history of resilience and peaceful resistance stretching back 150 years.

“We hope that students and teachers throughout Aotearoa will be inspired to investigate the history of their own area after learning about Parihaka’s non-violent struggle for peace and self-governance," says Dr Hond.

"Being encouraged to learn about the Māori account of history in an area and forming relationships with local Māori can also widen their perspective.”

As part of its Tangata Whenua programme, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has an ongoing relationship with the communities of Parihaka, and Dr Hond was an important consultant in the production of the booklet.

"Caritas is pleased to be able to provide young people and teachers with such an important educational resource," says Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand. 

“Working with and responding to the needs of indigenous peoples is one of Caritas’ key strategic goals.  We have learned a great deal through our developing relationship with Parihaka, and this is feeding into our partnerships with indigenous people locally and internationally in the areas of advocacy, development and education.”

Parihaka o neherā, o nāianei/Parihaka - past and present links in with the New Zealand Catholic religious education curriculum, and is available to be ordered from Caritas.

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