Parihaka is a site of immense historical, cultural and political importance. The events that took place in and around Parihaka, particularly from about 1860 to 1900, have affected the political, cultural and spiritual dynamics of the entire country.


Founded during the punitive years of mass confiscation and dispossession of Māori from their lands, by 1870 it had become the largest Māori village in the country. Two figures, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi led the Parihaka movement. Both men were committed to non-violent action in order to resist the invasion of their estates and to protect Māori independence.


Te Whiti and Tohu established monthly meetings at Parihaka on the 18th and 19th day of every month to which Māori and Pākehā leaders were invited to participate in discussions about the injustices and to strategise resistance to land grabbing and assimilation. The ‘18th’ became a consistent institution for the Parihaka movement, as it recalled the date of the start of the first war in nearby Waitara, which began on March 18, 1860.


Passive resistance began with a prominent Taranaki woman by the name of Keeta who along with other women sought to remove survey pegs from their own land in Waitara. Following the land wars in Taranaki in 1860 and subsequent land confiscations, ploughing up surveyed areas, building fences across roads was a means of passive resistance that was asserted in North and South Taranaki. Te Whiti and Tohu established a community around the kaupapa of passive resistance and ensured that all actions were non-violent. A philosophy of peace for all humanity was inspired and a strategy of non-violent action was put in place. The Ploughmen and Fencers did not resist arrest and as each group was dragged away by government forces, another group took its place.

The Native Minister, John Bryce, described Parihaka as "that headquarters of fanaticism and disaffection" and subsequently Parliament passed legislation enabling the Government to hold the Parihaka protesters indefinitely and without trial. By September 1880, hundreds of men and youths had been exiled to South Island prisons where they were forced to build the infrastructure of cities like Dunedin.


Yet, the worst was still to come. In 1881, the Armed Constabulary marched on Parihaka and systematically destroyed their homes and crops then slaughtered their cattle, pigs and horses. Women and girls were raped, leading to an outbreak of syphilis in the community. It took the armed forces two months to destroy the complex.


The kaupapa of peace and nonviolent action in the assertion of Rangatiratanga (Sovereignty) and Kaitiakitanga (Rightful Guardianship), first articulated by Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, has endured to the present day at Parihaka. Five generations later, the Morehu (survivors) continue to live and die in accordance with the philosophy as established by their leaders Te Whiti and Tohu. The descendants of Mahatma Gandhi, Daisaku Ikeda, and Martin Luther King continue a relationship with Parihaka in what has become an ongoing global peace cooperative forum. Te Whiti and Tohu have been recognized by their contemporaries as two of the foremost world leaders of passive resistance, nonviolent action and world peace. 





In 2009, a group of about 30 children, aged from five to 12, from the school Te Kura Kaupapa mo Tamarongo in the South Taranaki town of Opunake, set off on a journey to learn about the struggles of their ancestors. All are descendants of Parihaka, the peaceful village established in the 1860s by Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi and destroyed in 1881 by the Government-backed Armed Constabulary.


Accompanied by parents and teachers, including Ngapera Moeahu and Maata Wharehoka and senior spokesman (Whaikōrero) Rukutai Watene, the children spent almost two weeks travelling by bus from Parihaka to Wellington and then around the South Island. They visited the places the men from Parihaka, who were essentially political prisoners, were held captive in over a 19-year period in the late 19th Century. They saw the buildings, walls and roads hewn out of stone by their ancestors, and went inside the caves and cells they lived in. The children met the descendants of the local iwi who supported the prisoners and were given heartfelt welcomes onto the marae of the south.


Parihaka community filmmaker Paora Joseph was also on board the bus. With cameras borrowed from his New Plymouth workplace, WAVES Youth Health and Development Centre, a trainee sound recordist in the form of one of the WAVES students and with some of the children also operating cameras, he filmed every step, every milestone of the trip.


Filmmaker Gaylene Preston, who has a longstanding connection with the people of Parihaka and was working with Joseph on archival video interviews for them, brought her skills, resources and experience to the project as executive producer.


Joseph completed the bus trip with masses of footage, and, with Preston, secured some post-production funding from TSB Trust in recognition of the film’s value as an educational resource and some from the New Zealand Film Commission. Late in the post-production process they took the project to the crowd-funding website, Pozible, where they gathered a community of support and raised a further $10,000. They are still fundraising to enable payment of fees deferred by service providers and crew.


After the trip, Joseph and his wife Janine Martin, an artist who is co-director of the film, conducted workshops with the children to process their experience. The children made artworks, wrote poetry and sang songs. After that, they recorded the children’s songs and poetry readings in a recording studio, which gave rise to the idea of using the children’s own voices and observations as the narration for the film.


Paora Joseph expressed his approach to filmmaking in his pitch to potential funders on the Pozible crowd-funding website:

Tatarakihi – The Children Of Parihaka is a story that invites you to be a part of life’s spectacular journey, to make a difference in a world where we are often encouraged to think more of the future and not the past. I believe this process of inviting you –  The People -  to invest in this film rather than large entities or organizations, brings about a personal approach that supports the very ethos that both Te Whiti and Tohu stood for.


“Te Whiti and Tohu believed in a global co-operative community, based on working with each other and the earth harmoniously and with spiritual intent. Independent and community documentary making does not follow a capitalist model, which judges success by the dollars a product makes in the marketplace, but more of a NGO or non-profit model, which judges success by the number of people it reaches and the change it effects.


While it recounts days of darkness, Tatarakihi – The Children Of Parihaka is imbued with a sense of restoration and hope, enabling a continued dialogue for understanding and mutual respect of both Māori and Pākehā in the New Zealand we know today. This film will also provide reflection to other indigenous nations that memory of the ancient world is important within the modern context that we now find ourselves in.”





Kaiarahi/Kaihautu - Director/Producer: Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph


Paora Joseph is of Atihau-a-Papaarangi and Nga Rauru descent, from Kaiwhaiki Pa, near Whanganui, which is affiliated to Parihaka through longstanding family and political connections. He was given his Maori name, Te Oti Takarangi, in memory of the ancestor who led his people to Parihaka to support the philosophy of peace practiced there.


In 1986, his first job was as a youth worker on the streets of South Auckland, which led him train as a clinical psychologist, a profession he still works in when not making films. His path to filmmaking runs in parallel with his path to Parihaka, via Whanganui, where he lived for 10 years.


In Auckland, he worked as an actor with renowned Maori filmmaker Don Selwyn on some plays for theatre. Selwyn encouraged him to become a director and to find a story worth telling, pointing him in the direction of Parihaka at a time when other events in his life were also pointing that way. He moved to Taranaki, met Taranaki Pou Kuia Marge Raumati and Parihaka leader Te Miringa Hohaia. He worked with Hohaia on the Parihaka Peace Festival and the video archive project which grew out of the Festival. Parihaka kuia, Maata Wharehoka, knowing his passion for storytelling, invited him to go with the children and make a film.


At Parihaka, he met filmmaker Gaylene Preston who became executive producer of Tatarakihi: The Children of Parihaka. He regards Preston and Selwyn as mentors, saying, “They are both story-driven, their films always give justice to the story and the process of telling the story and the audience who is hearing the story. The late Don Selwyn and Gaylene Preston are like the toto weka a rare type of blood greenstone that if you are really lucky as a story teller you may bump into and when you do, hope that some of their commitment and sensibility rubs off.”


Joseph worked in New Plymouth for WAVES Youth Health and Development Centre, often taking troubled youth to Parihaka as part of their healing. He made the Documentary Edge Festival award winning short film Hiding Behind the Green Screen about marijuana addiction, based on one of these workshops. He also won the best up and coming director award at the same festival and the film was an official selection at the FIFO International Documentary Film Festival and the Duke City DocFest. His other film, Hikoi Wairua, was a journey with young people on the Whanganui River, made with his wife, Janine Martin.


He says his psychology work inspires his film work: “I have been listening to people’s stories for a long time in this healing profession. Film is another opportunity to heal because it can share human stories with a greater audience.”



Kaiarahi/Kaihautu  - Co-director/Producer: Janine Martin


Janine Martin is an artist of Ngati kahu, Ngati Moerewa and Ngati Hine descent who grew up in Taranaki. She lived in Sydney for 10 years, where she designed and developed her own range of jewellery. She returned to New Plymouth (and Te Maunga Taranaki) where she studied painting and print making. She designed and made a range of ceramic tiles with Maori designs and words, which sold in design stores. She exhibited and sold her paintings and etchings in New Zealand galleries as well as abroad.

She and her husband Paora Joseph collaborated on the award winning documentary 'Hiding behind the Green Screen.' where she was co-producer, co-editor and art designer.  The couple also did  Hikoi Wairua, a documentary about a group of troubled youth who canoe down the Whanganui river.

Her art work now is multi-layers of different mediums, maps of memory, poetry, faith, and yearning. A recent triptych of 4-metre high banner paintings of the feathers of Parihaka, created as the backdrop for the 2011 Auckland Readers and Writers Festival opening show, Witnessing Parihaka, was presented to each of the three houses at Parihaka.

She says working on Tatarakihi: The Children of Parihaka was a huge learning curve: “Film is so different from painting. It’s was very challenging, learning how to weave the past and the present together in a dynamic and compelling way, to tell a very complex story simply. Film is such a powerful creative medium, it has a voice, it tells you what it wants to be, it’s like a living thing – it has a life of its own.”


Kaitiaki - Executive Producer Gaylene Preston


A long-time advocate of the importance of telling New Zealand stories, Gaylene Preston’s dramatic features as well as her many documentaries combine entertainment with a strong social message - Home By Christmas (2009), Lovely Rita (2007), Perfect Strangers (2003), War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us (1995), Bread & Roses (1993), Ruby and Rata (1990) and Mr Wrong (1985).


Preston first went to Parihaka in 1981 where she became friends with Te Miringa Hohaia and his family. In 1985 she returned with filmmaker Eruera Nia to conduct a video workshop in filmmaking which was hosted at Te Pae Pae by kuia, Kuini Tito. Twenty years later Hohaia encouraged her to work with Paora Joseph in their shared passion for recording the stories of Parihaka kaumatua (elders). She says, "Working with Paora has been inspiring. We share a background in psychology as therapists, which has made our collaboration easy. Of all the films I have made, Tatarakihi, though the least resourced in terms of funding, has been the richest and most rewarding in every other way. I feel privileged to have been involved."

She recently was executive producer and director of drama for the TV3 Platinum Fund movie Strongman and is currently executive producing a short film Ellen is Leaving by Michelle Savill, which has been selected by Roger Donaldson to be a finalist in the New Zealand International Film Festival Competition this year, and is currently involved in developing an opera set during the Parihaka siege, composed by Dame Gillian Whitehead to be directed by Sara Brody. 


In 2001, Preston was the first filmmaker to receive a Laureate Award. Since then, she has received the WIFT Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contribution to the NZ screen industry and the Documentary Edge Festival Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contribution to documentary. She is an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for services to the film industry. http://www.gaylenepreston.com





Huirangi Waikerepuru

Te Huatau Hikaka
Te Reihana Mahu

Children’s Poetry Readings

Te Uira Hohaia

'Nga Manu e Rua'
Jameco Ngaia-Pompey

Courtney Ngaia Pompey

'Tama Tu Tama Ora'
Tewha Te Tamaroa

'Te Keti'
Te Reihana Mahu

'Te Tangi a Taku Ihu'
Rangiawhina Hohaia

'Though The Lions Rage'
- Te Whiti o Rongomai
read by
Te Huatau Hikaka

KARANGA - 'Witnessing Parihaka'
Whero Bailey
Kiri Eriwata
Ngahina Hohaia
Whakaaria Koroheke
Ngapera Moeahu
Makere Pike
Agnes Wharehoka
Maata Wharehoka

Ruruku performed by Huirangi Waikerepuru
Unuhia performed by Whare Wano
Unuhia performed by Rukutai Watene
Poua performed by Ruakere Hond

HAKA performed by the children
Mangumangu Taipo

NGERI performed in the film
Ripi Ripia
Titiro Titiro


E rere Ra performed at Te Niho o Te Ati Awa by
Parihaka Kuia Whero Bailey
Rangiawhina Hohaia
Courtney Ngaia-Pompey
Jameco Ngaia-Pompey
Maraea Parengatai
Tatjana Smith

WAIATA POI performed by the children
I Te Raa o Maehe composed by Parihaka Ploughman - Tonga Awhikau
Kii Mai (composed by Turi of the Aotea Waka)
Poi Manu composed by Tonga Karena I Whakahii and performed by Waimarie Riwaka

WAIATA performed by the children
E Rere Ra
Ka Poi Poia composed by Robert Ruha, Te Whanau –a-Apanui
Puikara composed by Parihaka Ploughmen and Fencers
Te Tangi a Taku Ihu composed by Te Whetu Moeahau
Rire Rire Hau Paimarire composed by Kura Moeahu
Te Kupu a Tawhiao

Waiata Tawhito
Matarena Rau-kupa
Milly Rangi
Tonga Awhikau - Tangihanga archives

The filmmakers are very grateful to Maata Wharehoka, Ngapera Moeahu and Te Niho o Te Ati Awa

With grateful thanks to the children of Parihaka

Pearl Anderson
Arion Brewer
Herawini Brewer
Te Huatau Hikaka
Rangianewanewa Hikaka
Ngahuia Hohaia
Rangiawhina Hohaia
Te Uira Hohaia
Topine Karena
Te Reihana Mahu
Te Teira Mahu
Waimarama Mahu
Kimiora Katene-Rei
Maraea Parengatai
Te Ua Parengatai
Piki Ngaia
Courtney Ngaia-Pompey
Jameco Ngaia-Pompey
Te Aroha Ngaia-Pompey
Kapene Phillips
Tairere Phillips
Tautahi Phillips
Dejah Reeves
James Rogers
Waimarie Riwaka
Tatjana Smith
Johnathan Tahau
Puanani Tahau
Kataraina Taylor
Ropata Taylor
Te Aomarie

Kaumātua Kaikāranga Whaikōrero
Whero Bailey Ngapera Moeahu Rukutai Watene
Kui Verlie Hohaia Shirleen Ngawhare
Faye Phillip Maata Wharehoka
Patrick Phillips

Makere Pike
Rukutai Watene
Agnes Wharehoka Kaiako
Maata Wharehoka Robyn Davey Maatua
Ngapera Moeahu Nanci-lee Katene
Matiu Rukuwai Selwyn Karena
Hinetu Mahu
Shirleen Ngawhare
Duane Phillips

Ringawera / Cooks Len Rei Rangatahi o Parihaka Laureen Rei
Beth Caughley
Tania Heller
Jean Hikaka Ngahina Wharehoka
Puna Wharehoka Te Akau Wharehoka

Hau Kaianga
Rewi Āpiri
Elizabeth Phillips
Kotemate Ngaia
Sharee Ngaia
Rachel Smith
Robert Taylor


Special thanks
Parihaka Kuia Whero Bailey
Peter Chen - Mayor of Dunedin
Robert Consedine
Bill Dacca
Ellison whanau
Kiri Eriwata
Bob ‘Uncle Bob’ Farquhar
Nathaniel Hinde
Steve Matthews
Ashley McKenzie-White
John Parerau
Tahu Pōtiki
Paora Toi Te Rangiuaia
Te Akau Wharehoka

Thankyou to the following Marae
Omaka Marae
Aro Whenua Marae
Puke te Raki Marae
Rehua Marae
Ngatiwaewae Marae
Rapaki Marae
Otakou Marae
Ngai Tahu
Kotuku Hostel
Waikawa Marae
Thankyou to
Waves Youth Health and Development
Alexander Turnbull Library
Hocken Library Dunedin
Waitangi Associates Limited
Dunedin Settlers Museum
Venture Taranaki
New Zealand Film Commission
TVNZ Archives

Thankyou to
Te Puni Kokiri
New Zealand Film and Television School
Puke Ariki New Plymouth
Network Waitangi Otautahi
Dunedin City Council
Runciman Buses
Wellington War Memorial

Thankyou to the Oral Historians of Parihaka
Te Rangi Ahuta Broughten
Te Miringa Hohaia
Ruakere Hond
Tonga Karena I Whakahii
Kura Moeahu
Matarena Rau-kupa
Hazel Riseborough
Ina Okeroa
Dick Scott
Huirangi Waikerepuru
Rukutai Watene
Te Ru Wharehoka

Thankyou to all contributors of the following publications

‘Maori Prisoners in Dunedin – 1869-1872 and 1879-1881’
Jane Reeves

'Parihaka - The Art of Passive Resistance'
Te Miringa Hohaia, Gregory O'Brien and Lara Strongman

Hazel Riseborough

'Ask That Mountain'
Dick Scott

‘Te Iwi Herehere – Nga Mau Herehere Torangapu: Political Prisoners’
Dunedin Public Art Gallery

'I Shall Not Die'
James Belich

‘Wanderings with the Maori Prophets’
John F Ward

Angela Boyd
Tracey Egerton

Narrative Script Written by
Janine Martin & Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph

Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph
Duane Phillips

Additional photography
Tracey Egerton
Keith Finnerty
Tony Monk
Scotty McKinnon
Moss Bowering-Scott
Iain Frengley
Connor Strati
Mike Coughlan
Johnathan Tahau
James Rogers

Location sound
Dave Carnahan
Cameron Bollond

Post production sound
Dick Reade

Additional Recording
Dave Carnahan

Online Editor
Gavin Laurie

Violin composed and performed by
Jesse Hindin



Sue May


Phill Simmonds


Phonam Gatela

Simon Price
Tracey Egerton

Janine Martin

Director – Kaiarahi
Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph

Producers – Kaihautu
Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph
Janine Martin

Executive Producer – Kaitiaki
Gaylene Preston

This film was made possible by the generous support of

The New Zealand Film Commission
TSB Community Trust

Park Rd Post


Thank you to all friends, whānau and community
who contributed funds to our crowd funding appeal.

The filmmakers also gratefully thank
Tara-i-Te-Rangi Joseph
Frances Joseph

Kororia ki te Atua I runga rawa
Maungarongo ki runga I te whenua
Wakaaro pai ki ngaa tangata katoa

Homage to the Divine
Peace on Earth
Good will to all Humanity

Rongomai Productions in association with Gaylene Preston Productions