Image 'Te Whiti's bank, Parihaka', c1887

TLF ID R5112

This is a black-and-white photograph from Parihaka, Taranaki taken around 1887. Traditional Mäori whare or houses surround a bank built in European-style architecture, using painted, sawn timber and with foundations, a cross gable tiled roof with finials, and a covered balcony with a balustrade at the front. A man is leaning next to the bank and another person sits cross-legged nearby. A short ladder is on the ground in front of the balcony. Another man with a white beard and walking stick is walking away from the bank. The photograph is the work of the Burton Brothers and measures 16.5 cm x 21.5 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset highlights the important 19th-century settlement of Parihaka - from the late 1870s, the central Taranaki area on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island became the centre of Mäori opposition to the confiscation (raupatu) of Mäori land; in the aftermath of the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s, the government passed laws allowing it to confiscate land from Mäori tribes deemed to be in rebellion against the British Crown; these laws covered 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 a settlement that the European-dominated government deemed to be a threat - the local MP and Native Minister John Bryce called Parihaka 'that headquarters of fanaticism and disaffection'; Parihaka was invaded by 1,600 members of the Armed Constabulary and volunteers in November 1881; during the invasion, Parihaka inhabitants were forcibly removed, buildings and crops destroyed, and other atrocities were committed, including the rape of Mäori women and the detention without trial of Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Käkahi.
  • It reveals, in the buildings and their functions, a form of 19th-century Mäori leadership - in the wake of colonisation, traditional beliefs and practices were combined with selected aspects of introduced European ideas deemed beneficial to Mäori; this included undertakings such as a post office, schools and a bank, which were all aimed at making the inhabitants of Parihaka self-sufficient.
  • It provides a visual record of the settlement - Parihaka and its history has an enduring place in New Zealand society and culture; this has been explored in many artworks from the late 20th century by some of New Zealand's foremost artists, as well as providing inspiration for music and the basis for significant history books including Dick Scott's 'Ask that mountain' (1975) and Hazel Riseborough's 'Days of darkness' (1989), which have introduced new generations to the Parihaka story.
  • It is an example of the important work of brothers Walter and Alfred Burton, who established a photographic business in Dunedin in 1868 - they initially took photographs of the early development of that city before embarking upon an extensive record of the scenery and settlement of New Zealand, amassing the largest and broadest collection of 19th-century images of New Zealand; the record of their prodigious output is now held in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington.
  • It highlights the work of Burton Brothers from the late 1870s, which concentrated on the North Island - although the partnership is widely credited as Burton Brothers, the majority of images were taken by Alfred Burton (1834-1914) or their employed photographers and the partnership was dissolved in 1876; in the late 1870s Alfred Burton journeyed up the Whanganui River into the King Country where a collection of 155 images were taken of the surrounding landscape and people; this formed the series 'The Mäori at home', considered groundbreaking in its documentary portrayal of the day-to-day conditions in which the Mäori tribes lived.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Organization: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: Burton Brothers
  • Organization: Burton Brothers
  • Description: Author
  • 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
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  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
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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