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Image Armed Constabulary camp near Parihaka, 1881

TLF ID R4690

This is a black-and-white photograph of a New Zealand Armed Constabulary camp near the settlement of Parihaka, Taranaki (halfway down the west coast of the North Island) in 1881. Several dozen uniformed men are lined up on either side of a track. Some are leaning on a railing that runs alongside the track on each side, and one man is holding onto a dog. Some of the men hold guns. There are tents behind the men, while a small part of a more substantial building is visible on the right-hand side of the photograph. The photograph measures 10 cm x 13 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset relates to an important event in New Zealand history that took place in and around the central Taranaki pä (village) at Parihaka - from the late 1870s, this area became the centre of opposition to the confiscation of raupatu (Mäori land) in the aftermath of the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s; the Government had passed laws allowing it to confiscate land from Mäori tribes deemed to be in rebellion against the British Crown, including land in the area occupied by Parihaka; Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Käkahi, spiritual and political leaders at Parihaka, advocated and promoted non-violent opposition to the Government's policy of making the confiscated land available for European settlement.
  • It shows the result of the Government's attitude to Mäori resistance at the time (as expressed by local MP and Native Minister John Bryce, who called Parihaka 'that headquarters of fanaticism and disaffection') and the Government's belief that New Zealand was now a country to be developed by Europeans, reflecting European values and practices - to achieve this aim Mäori resistance, as exemplified by the actions at Parihaka, could not be tolerated, especially where it encouraged unity across tribes as promoted by some of the 19th-century Mäori leaders, including Te Ua Haumene, Te Kooti and Titokowaru; in the wake of colonisation, their form of leadership combined traditional beliefs and practices with a new form of spiritualism that included pan- or multi-theism, as well as some aspects of Christianity.
  • It highlights the Government's willingness to use force to confront peaceful resistance - 1,600 members of the Armed Constabulary and volunteers were sent into Parihaka; despite meeting no resistance from the inhabitants, Bryce read the Riot Act and members of the Armed Constabulary proceeded to forcibly remove the inhabitants, destroying buildings, crops and livestock, and committing atrocities that included the rape of Mäori women; over the next few days, Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Käkahi were arrested, detained without trial and exiled to the South Island until 1883.
  • It illustrates the role of the Armed Constabulary in New Zealand during this period - formed in 1867, when British Imperial troops were withdrawn from New Zealand, it became not only a force used for the purposes of general law and order, but also New Zealand's first official army; it consisted largely of men who had seen service during the various campaigns of the New Zealand Wars and who saw themselves as members of a settler defence force.
  • It provides a visual record of some of those involved in the events at Parihaka - Parihaka and its history have an enduring place in New Zealand society and culture; they have been explored in many artworks from the late 20th century onwards by some of New Zealand's foremost artists, including works by painters such as Ralph Hotere, Selwyn Muru, Tony Fomison and Colin McCahon, plays by Harry Dansey, Mervyn Thompson and Brian Potiki, poetry by Hone Tuwhare, James K Baxter, W H Oliver and Elizabeth Smither, and music ranging from that of classical composers such as Anthony Ritchie through to the music of popular singer Tim Finn; Parihaka is also the basis for seminal history books, including Dick Scott's 1975 classic, 'Ask that Mountain', and Hazel Riseborough's 1989 'Days of Darkness', which have continued to introduce new generations to the Parihaka story.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Organization: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: =Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Organization: =Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
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Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements