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Image 'At Parihaka', c1887

TLF ID R6476

This is a black-and-white photograph taken around 1887 at Parihaka, Taranaki, on the North Island of New Zealand. It shows a traditional Mäori whare or house in the background, complete with a tall wooden fence. Four people sit in front of the whare, wrapped in blankets. The door is ajar and it looks as though a fifth person is sitting in the doorway. There is a small dog sitting with one of the people and another standing in front of the fence to its left. The writing at the bottom of the photograph reads '4019 - At Parihaka. Burton Bros. Dunedin'. The photograph is the work of the Burton Brothers and measures 16.5 cm x 21.5 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • From the late 1870s, the central Taranaki area on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island, including the settlement of Parihaka, became the centre of Mäori opposition to the raupatu (confiscation) of Mäori land by the colonial government.
  • During 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 - 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.
  • The local MP and Native Minister John Bryce called Parihaka 'that headquarters of fanaticism and disaffection' and 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.
  • This whare or traditional Mäori house with a group of people, mainly women, outside and others partly obscured, is shown six years after the attack and was probably built after 1883 when Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Käkahi were allowed to return to Parihaka and the rebuilding of what had been the largest Mäori village began - however, the settlement declined after the death of the two leaders in 1907.
  • Parihaka and its history has an enduring place in New Zealand society and culture and is explored in many artworks from the late 20th century by some of New Zealand's foremost artists, musicians and writers including Ralph Hotere and Mselwyn Muru - the settlement has provided 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.
  • The spiritual legacy of Parihaka is a belief in living in harmony with the land and humanity, which is celebrated and promoted by an annual International Peace festival - Parihaka's history and legacy is also one of non-violent resistance and a strong belief in the possibility of a peaceful and respectful co-existence of Mäori and Pakeha; its history also remains a painful legacy for the community and Mäori, with many land claims still unresolved today.
  • The image is an example of the important work of brothers Walter and Alfred Burton, who established a photographic business in Dunedin in 1868, initially taking photographs of the early development of that city before embarking on 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.
  • The majority of images were taken by Alfred Burton (1834-1914) or employed photographers, with the partnership of the two brothers being dissolved in 1876 - in the late 1870s Alfred Burton journeyed up the Whanganui River into the King Country where a collection of 155 images was 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
  • Address: Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
  • 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
  • Address: Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
  • 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:
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements