The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Te Whiti
Te Whiti, a Maori prophet who has gained considerable notoriety, first sprang into prominence in the year 1870, when he commenced to hold a series of half-yearly meetings at his settlement of Parihaka, to which discontented natives from all parts of New Zealand flocked. At the end of the West Coast war in Sept. 1865, the whole coast from Wanganui to the White Cliff, forty miles north of New Plymouth, was confiscated, but the natives were not driven from their territory, to a large part of which they were ultimately restored. Three years later the West Coast natives, under Titokowaru, again raised the standard of rebellion, but, being defeated, took refuge in the forest country behind Waitara. The West Coast country gradually became settled by Europeans, and the object of Te Whiti's mission was to displace these settlers and restore the lands to their original owners. Te Whiti himself had never been in rebellion. He had indeed on various occasions manifested his friendliness towards the Europeans, and he now preached peaceful resistance. Under his direction the natives commenced ploughing up the grass lands occupied by the settlers. Te Whiti in his harangues predicted a speedy resurrection of the natives and the driving of the Europeans into the sea. Various efforts were made by the Government to settle the prevailing discontent, and Sir William Fox and Sir Francis Dillon Bell, who were appointed commissioners to investigate the causes of disquiet, reported in favour of very large reserves. This report was given effect to. The gatherings at Parihaka, however, had by this time assumed the character of a fanatical religious commotion, and it became necessary to disperse the natives who had gathered there. For this purpose Mr. John Bryce, who was Native Minister, assembled a large force of volunteers, and on Oct. 30th, 1881, an advance was made against the pa. The natives only offered a passive resistance to the arrest of the prophet. The chief Tohu and a murderer named Hiroki, who was sheltering in the pa, were arrested. There was, however, no bloodshed. Te Whiti, Tohu, and Titokowaru were tried, found guilty of assembling unlawfully, and confined as State prisoners during the Governor's pleasure. They were subsequently released, but, in consequence of further assemblages at Parihaka, Te Whiti was again arrested. The dispersal of the natives had shaken the belief of many of his former followers in the powers of the prophet, and no serious disturbance afterwards arose. Te Whiti still lives at Parihaka, but European settlement has spread extensively over the fertile lands that were in d is pate, and there is no danger of further Maori disturbances in that district, or, indeed, in any part of New Zealand. By some of the leading colonists, Te Whiti, now that all dangers from his policy are past, is regarded as one of the most genuine and sincere of moralists. His eloquence and his ethics, both mainly based on New Testament models, embody a scorn of modern civilisation and money-grubbing not at all in accord with the tendencies of a material age or complimentary to the mundane "spirit of colonisation."