I think we should dump Guy Fawkes Day, keep the fireworks and remember Parihaka instead.
It makes no sense to me why a historical act of religious terrorism from Britain should eclipse an historical event far more deeply wedded to us in terms of identity and values.
On November 5th, 1881, the racist and violent colonial forces led by Native Minister John Bryce, raided the pacifist and peaceful protest at Parihaka, destroying houses, pillaging anything worth stealing, raping women, separating children from their families, mass arrests and confiscation of land.
Not to mention the abuse of power after the ransacking that saw Māori held for two years without trial.
Parihaka, and the spirit of peaceful resistance is an essential value to who we are as New Zealander’s and November the 5th should become a day where we all gather to remember that moment in NZ history and celebrate the spirit of pacifist resistance and peaceful social justice activism.
We should replace Guy Fawkes, but keep the bonfires and the fireworks to celebrate the spark of hope Parihaka ignites throughout the darkness of history. Let’s culturally appropriate a British cultural tradition, make it ours, teach our own history to ourselves and celebrate our uniquely blended identities as a nation all in one move.
Willie Jackson is the Minister for Employment