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  • Writer's pictureLauren

Parihaka - 140 years

140 years since Parihaka.

35 years since my first visit.

30 years since I sat at the front of Te Niho o Te Atiawa Marae at Parihaka as an 11 year old and watched an old woman crying as the then-Prime Minister visited. She was angry and sad and I don’t know what else because I was only 11 and didn’t really understand what was happening.

27 years since I wore a Parihaka t-shirt to school and someone said ‘ew you’re a Māori, are you going to steal my lunch?’

24 years since my history teacher was telling the class about a history trip to Parihaka that he’d organised with my Dad, and it triggered a conversation about how ‘Māori stuff’ needs to ‘stop being shoved down our throats’ - a conversation that lasted the rest of the lesson.

18 years since someone at university told me that my Masters Thesis (which looked at Parihaka) would never get me a job afterward.

17- 1 years since all the zillion micro-aggression sort of racist comments that never sound like much in isolation (can’t you take a joke? I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that? Are you sure you’re not hypersensitive?) but add up to a complex tapestry of emption that make it that little bit harder to walk into a room like you deserve to be there. A tapestry that makes me think about the old lady who was crying when I was 11, and makes me understand her a little better.

2 days since a Pākehā man told me NZ doesn’t have a problem with diversity and inclusion and that individuals need to take more responsibility for their own problems.

But, yeah.

140 years since Parihaka

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