Scoop Review of Books

Release: BWB Text on Parihaka

New BWB Text on Parihaka by Rachel Buchanan

Sept. 6, 2018:

Parihaka was a place and an event that could be lost and found, over and over. It moved into view, then disappeared, just like the mountain.

In 1881, over 1,500 colonial troops invaded the village of Parihaka near the Taranaki coast. Many people were expelled, buildings destroyed, and chiefs Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi were jailed.

In this BWB Text, Rachel Buchanan tells her own, deeply personal story of Parihaka. Her story begins with the death of her father, a man with affiliations to many of Taranaki’s eight iwi. She traces her connections back to the events of 1881, in particular her tūpuna Taare Warahi (Charles Wallace). Born at Te Aro Pā in 1848, Warahi became a trusted translator, including interpreting during a six hour conversation at Parihaka between Te Whiti and Lyttelton Times journalist Samuel Croumbie-Brown.

Ko Taranaki Te Maunga discusses the apologies and settlements that have taken place since te pāhuatanga, the invasion of Parihaka. Buchanan charts the nine times that the New Zealand government has apologised for te pāhuatanga between 1991 and 2018. She begins the book by admitting that when she heard in 2017 that another apology government apology was scheduled, her first thought was ‘oh no, not again!’. Buchanan describes her personal reaction to the various apologies and outlines what she sees as important elements that make an apology meaningful.

Ko Taranaki Te Maunga explores how records and recordkeepers are forces for social justice and radical change within families and society. The book is a moving reflection on the ongoing importance of history and its impact on the present.

About the Author

Dr Rachel Buchanan (Taranaki, Te Ātiawa) is an historian, archivist, journalist and curator. Rachel is the author of The Parihaka Album: Lest We Forget(Huia, 2009) and Stop Press: The Last Days of Newspapers (Scribe, 2013). She wrote poems for The Anatomy Lesson, an artist book by Geoffrey Ricardo, and in 2014 she produced an artist newspaper, Melbourne Sirius. Her essays on trees and Taranaki land have been anthologised in Tell You What: Great New Zealand Non-Fiction (2015, 2016).

For the past two-and-a-half years, Rachel has been curator, Germaine Greer Archive, at University of Melbourne Archives. Her essay ‘How Shakespeare Helped Shape Germaine Greer’s Masterpiece’ won a 2016 Australian Society of Archivists Mander Jones award. Rachel has been published in The ConversationThe MonthlyMeanjinGriffith ReviewVICE NZ and Fairfax newspapers. Her scholarly writing has been translated into Māori, Farsi and French and has appeared in journals in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Iran and the United States.