Parihaka Pa circa 1900. Image: Union Steam Ship Company of NZ
The Taranaki settlement of Parihaka is getting up to $14m to build a new visitor centre and to preserve its history of non-violence resistance.
Regional economic development minister Shane Jones said the money from the Provincial Growth Fund would also make infrastructure improvements, boost the local economy and provide jobs.
“The Provincial Growth Fund investment will be used to improve infrastructure, create up to 130 jobs and provide a visitor centre to house traditional and modern tāonga to educate visitors about the history of Parihaka,” Jones said.
Parihaka was established in 1866 for Māori disenfranchised from their land but was attacked and occupied by Crown troops in 1881. The Crown apologised for the incident in 2017.
“When the Crown apologised in 2017 for this shocking episode in our history, its sincerest hope was that Parihaka and the Crown could acknowledge their shared past, move beyond it, and begin to work together to fulfil the vision of peaceful co-existence that Tohu and Te Whiti described.
“It is now our hope that this investment will go some way towards achieving this vision. Parihaka is remains a vital symbol of non-violent action and our shared heritage. All New Zealanders should know its story and this project will help tell that story.”
Jones added the new visitor facility would house taonga and an exhibition of the Parihaka story, “told by the people of Parihaka”. Retail space and a café would also be built.
The money, which was going to the Parihaka Papakāinga Trust, would also make infrastructure improvements such as a new bridge, carpark and space for wānanga, conferences, workshops and tour groups.
South Taranaki mayor Phil Nixon said the people of Parihaka had “waited a long time for this to happen”.
“The investment comes at a time when the region is looking to support the local construction sector and is therefore particularly welcome,” he said.
“The story of Parihaka is one which everyone needs to learn and understand.”
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