Friday, June 8, 2012
Resting in peace
I want to share with you how he passed on the gift of peace to me.
When the government began to take the land of his tribe by force, Te Whiti led his people in passive resistance. First they pulled out the surveyor's pegs. Then they met guns with ploughs, tilling the confiscated land rather than fighting back with guns, and putting up fences across the government's roads. One after the other, his people were arrested, while others took their places.
In 1881 the peaceful village of Parihaka was invaded by soldiers. They were greeted by hundreds of skipping and dancing children who offered them food. But the soldiers arrested Te Whiti and destroyed the village.
My teacher's grandparents journeyed separately to Parihaka, inspired like so many by Te Whiti's message of peace. There they met and fell in love. They became members of the tribe of Taranaki from that time on.
The three feathers represent the Raukua, the central teaching, which has three principles:
2. Making peace within yourself and with others
3. Maintaining goodwill, despite conflict
I always felt a great sense of peace and safety when I was with him. Later I discovered just how deep that river of peace had run through his family.
Now he is in the earth at Parihaka, alongside his ancestors. I know he will be resting in peace.