Tātarakihi: The Children of Parihaka

Tātarakihi: The Children of Parihaka


During the New Zealand Land Wars, hundreds of peaceful Taranaki Maori were arrested by the government and imprisoned without trial in the South Island. In this documentary, their descendants travel to Dunedin in remembrance.... More

"In 1881 the children of Parihaka greeted government invaders with white feathers of peace. Tatarakihi tells the story of a ‘journey of memory’ taken by a group of Parihaka children who travel to the South Island 130 years later. They follow in the footsteps of their male ancestors who were transported south after the Taranaki land confiscations of the 1860s.

"Wellington War Memorial, Addington Jail and Ripapa Island in Lyttelton Harbour are key stations on the long bus journey to the caves at Andersons Bay in Dunedin where the Parihaka men were imprisoned. The prisoners were forced to labour on buildings, roads and embankments. These enduring expressions of Dunedin’s 19th-century prosperity were founded on something closely resembling slavery...

"The film is narrated by the children and combines footage of their hikoi (some of it shot by the children themselves) with vivid archival photography." (New Zealand International Film Festival 2012)Hide

Flicks Review

Peaceful protest isn’t just the province of Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi. In 1881, peaceful male Taranaki Māori protestors of Parihaka were arrested and imprisoned without trial for attempting to prevent the seizure of their land. It’s a shameful yet important chapter of Aotearoa’s history that deserves to be remembered. This simply told yet powerful documentary follows a group of young descendants who travel in the footsteps of their ancestors – from Taranaki to Dunedin – remembering those who were unjustly imprisoned, used as forced labour, and those who died during those three long years away from home.... More

“From the darkness to the light, we remember our ancestors. From the future to the past.” This is cinema as an act of living memory. Told from the perspective of the children, utilizing film of their hikoi, animation, archive photographs, resonant poetry and songs, to remind us that some stories have to be told so that they are never forgotten, lest they be repeated.

Journeying with the children by bus, the film documents their travels to Wellington, Christchurch, Addington Jail, Ripapa Island and Andersons Bay, Dunedin. Opening helicopter shots aside, some of the camerawork may be ropey and some of the sound muddy, but what it lacks in technical polish it makes up for as a raw and heartfelt record of a “sacred journey of remembrance;” representing both Māori and Pākehā history that remains, even some 130 years on, powerful, provocative and pertinent.Hide

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