GUEST BLOG: Willie Jackson – I think we should dump Guy Fawkes Day, keep the fireworks and remember Parihaka Instead.

By   /   November 6, 2018  /   28 Comments

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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.

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 

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  1. Isabel.H says:

    I agree with you re ditching Guy Fawkes & remembering Parihaka instead.

    However, I also wish fireworks to be ditched as well. I have known horses to be so terrified by neighbouring fireworks that the animals have been killed by galloping into wire fences in their terror. Pleas to neighbours to cease the fireworks went unheeded. I kept my cat inside all last night but thankfully, fireworks were set off at a minimum that surprised me. I’ve a friend with 2 beautiful dogs & she has to override the sounds of fireworks with her TV & music till the small hours of the morning.

    I think that only public displays of fireworks should be permitted – on a public park or similar – & the products should not be permitted to be sold to other than local authorities. I am way past tired of animals being maltreated – as too many are in this country!

  2. Shona says:

    Guido Fawkes was a professional bomb maker. He was a gun for hire. The Catholics who hired him were passionate about their cause.An interesting and instructive episode from English History. And worth remembering. English History is not irrelevant to NZ.I have had Aussies visit at this time of year just so they can have the thrill of experiencing fireworks. There is a great deal of History relevant to our collective culture that can be celebrated at this time of year. The fires are leftovers from pagan Celtic culture. Also relevant to those of us with Scottish Irish and English ancestry.Parihaka is of Aotearoa. it deserves it own place of recognition. Our history has been ignored for far too long . It needs it’s own Festival and it’s own day of remembrance.
    If it is on the 5th of November much will be lost and worthless resentment will ensue.
    We need our own Day of Peace public holiday to remember all of our History or a Land Wars remembrance day.

    • Snow White says:

      Hey Shona, my mother said that Guy Fawkes was a good Catholic man who was set up.

      When some of my siblings went collecting ‘a penny for the guy’, Mother made them go around the houses and return all the money. I think my brother cried.

      That being said, I agree with all who say public displays of fireworks are best and wisest.

      • Shona says:

        @ Snowwhite Fawkes was a gun for hire . Possibly part Macedonian. He was of mixed ancestry. Definitely not English. The Catholics who hired him were mostly aristocrats who had had a gutsful of persecution and not being able to practice their religious ceremonies.Heard of a ‘priest’s hole” a place in a great house where catholic priests would hide during the reformation in England. Bloody times.

        • Shona says:

          Edit function not working. Sorry he was English but fought for the Spanish and rose thru the ranks of the Spanish army . He also changed his name while fighting for Spain. He became an expert in using gunpowder while in the Spanish army. Being unable to persuade Spain to make war on the Stuart King James he became a freelancer. Belief is powerful motivator. There’s a lesson for us Kiwis there. Tolerance breeds dissent? or the opposite?. Whatever we need to celebrate our own History more that’s for sure.

          • Snow White says:

            Yep Shona. Not long since we had a political leader here who many of us will always regard as treasonous to the people he was meant to represent.

            Guy Fawkes was seen as treasonous and we know what happened to him, and therein lies the lesson for traitors. So we may need that annual reminder, 5/10.

            Guy Fawkes held out over two days of torture before confessing, and the torture was horrific; try as I may I have great difficulty imagining who here would hold out
            over two days of torture. That’s a high quality man.

            • Johnnybg says:

              What a thread, you lot rock. Great ain’t it, with Guy Fawkes day we get two bites of the cherry. The Royalists can celebrate thwarting a Catholic plot to kill the King & the torture & death of the perpetrators. On the other hand Catholics, anti-Royalists & Republicans can celebrate an attempt to bring down the monarchy & the martyrdom of the Papist activists.

              Being tribunal in nature I can’t help being a bit of a Royalist. Unfortunately though I’m not a great fan of the German usurpers who now sit on the British throne. They’re so populist & bourgeois it’s sickening. James the sixth of Scotland & First of England (who Guy Fawkes had it for) united the English & Scottish thrones, so in my book the restoration of the Royal House of Stewart is long overdue.

              • Snow White says:

                This is the same King James who published the first treatise against tobacco.With doubtless unwitting echo of Guy Fawkes, he called it a Counterblast…against tobacco.

                James 1 & V1 would be seen as a baddie by Carrick Graham who features in ‘Dirty Politics’ as having the tobacco industry as a long term client – maybe those guys were transcending time and were part of the plot.

                Pleasures of smoking aside, the tobacco industry contains some of the most evil men on the planet.

                We need to continue to commemorate Guy Fawkes as a constant reminder of the lengths that these scum will go to to keep people hooked.

  3. Nik says:

    It just makes sense! If only that counted for anything these days…

  4. Michelle says:

    Agree 100% especially when people stock pile and let them of late at night. We can have council or community displays instead as how much money and resources is this costings us all because of some peoples stupid and irresponsible behaviour and this group seem to spoil it for others.

  5. Snow White says:

    “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. ” Hope ? Parihaka was a fearsome tragedy.

    More appropriate may be a public holiday celebration of Matariki as a symbol of new beginnings, an a new year, right up there in the stars for all to see.

    Community-organised firework displays could send stars from earth to join them and to marry with them. The spiritual imagery is simple, and beautiful.

    Celebrating Parihaka is akin to celebrating the Great Famine, or the Highland Clearances, or the Partition of India, or the Balfour Declaration, all of which inflicted terrible enduring tragedies upon undeserving people, some of which continue to this day.

    Parihaka Day has the potential to rub salt in wounds, and to wound afresh.

    It also has the potential to give rise to racial tensions with more undeserving people cast as wicked colonial oppressors. Kiwis don’t need that.There are enough shadows out there now.

    Matariki is already seen as a time of hope, and it brims with positivity.
    It has a uniquely Maori dimension which everyone can embrace.

  6. Keepcalmcarryon says:

    I agree Willie, a much more appropriate remembrance for NZ.
    As far as others wanting to ban fireworks: I think freedoms and pleasures (and working rights and speed limits) are much easier to take away than to give.
    Our current society seems to want more work less freedom. Can you think of any new freedoms you have acquired in the last 20 years?

  7. adam says:

    As long as the story of the dog peeing on the cannon is included.

    Also I’d like to add we need to have a national holiday on the day, a day of remembrance and a day of reflection.

    Personal I’d like a national service at Parihaka televised on all networks. Coupled with many, many events promoting, peace, resistance and the need to respect animals.

  8. Johnnybg says:

    Shameful disrespect for our British heritage. My British ancestors have been in this country even longer than Jackson’s have & I still value Guy Fawkes day very highly. It is an integral part of our feisty tradition & should not be devalued by someone who is confused &/or dishonest about his own origins & those transplanted British institutions like our parliament, that he makes his daily bread from. I agree, Parihaka is an important part of our nations history but it should never replace Guy Fawkes day.

    There are some unfortunate side effects of the revitalisation of Maori culture since the 70’s. One is a tendency for those who identify as Maori to see their culture as being all sweetness & light. This has emboldened some to do their darnedest to force all things Maori onto other New Zealanders who have no Maori ancestry or no great love for their culture. This is just replicating what was done to Maori by European colonists many moons ago, & if this enforced Maorification of NZ continues it will only end in bloodshed & tears.

    If Maori leaders are genuine about playing a role in moving our country forward, then they should stop using the law system introduced by the British (who some make no bones about detesting), to serve there own interests, which in many cases are not in the best interests of all New Zealanders (exclusive water rights is a classic example of this). This really is a continuation of the wars against other New Zealanders by more peaceful means. So what is sorely needed today is a peace treaty, as the enormous challenges that our country is facing are being faced by all of us, so whether ethnocentric Maori like it or not, we’re all in this together.

    • Keepcalmcarryon says:

      Calm the farm bloke.
      Maori are not the enemy.

      • Johnnybg says:

        Not sure what farm blokes got to do with this? Is this a new ism against rural folk? Read my lips, I did not say Maori are the enemy. But as you’ve brought the enemy matter up; at this pivotal moment in our history, when we should be working together to do all we can to ensure our countries long term survival, our nation is largely owned, operated & brainwashed by liberal globalisation fanatics. These traitorous fanatics, who come in all shapes, sizes, genders & colours are our real enemies.

        • Keepcalmcarryon says:

          I’d agree globalization is owned by the 1% and used to increase corporate profit by exploiting consumers and driving down wages. Foolish liberal lefties who want to give residency away and open our borders are simply being played.
          Maori voices so far are one of the few “nationalist” groups who speak out for actual kiwis and those who live here.
          Tangata whenua.
          Wouldn’t it be great if the government cared for its own land and people like Maori most often do.

        • countryboy says:

          @ JBG
          Right fucking on!

  9. Dot says:

    Yes I like your idea Wille and support Adam’s addition
    of a televised service at Parihaka.
    It is certainly time to have Aotearoa appropriate events
    promoting peace and justice and remembering our history.

  10. esoteric pineapples says:

    Yes, let’s ditch Guy Fawkes and have people’s pets killed, lost and terrorised, plus properties torched in the name of Parihaka

    • Snow White says:

      Good old Willie Jackson is hijacking Guy Fawkes Day to be replaced by Parihaka Day as a political deal, and he assumes that we’re all dumb in the way that politicians invariably do.

      A leaked Green Party email proposed that the Greens support the Waka Jumping Bill in return for Labour supporting good old Maramar Davidson’s Parihaka Day wantings.

      This is round one. The fireworks are irrelevant as we the people are – or the injured animals- are.

      Jackson should tread very carefully in tinkering with other people’s history. He has a bloody nerve reducing the tragic complex history of Scotland to “religious terrorism from Britain”.

      Guy Fawkes wanted to blast the Scots back to their own mountains, and having married into a Scots Presbyterian family I sometimes agree with him, but NZ Maori are not the only New Zealanders with tragic histories, and Willie Jackson wasn’t put into Parliament to decide that someone’s history is more important than another’s.

      If he sat down and read the horrific history of Scotland – or Ireland -or India – or Poland, or anywhere else people here come from, he might think differently about prioritising human histories.

      • D'Esterre says:

        Snow White: “Jackson should tread very carefully in tinkering with other people’s history. He has a bloody nerve reducing the tragic complex history of Scotland to “religious terrorism from Britain”.”

        I agree. What he says bespeaks ignorance of that history, in my book.

        In common with many other NZers, this is my heritage. That complex history fed into the governing arrangements we have in contemporary NZ, and for that reason, should not be set aside in such a fashion.

        By all means commemorate (not celebrate) Parihaka. But let’s not lose Guy Fawkes day.

        I’m intensely irritated by Wgtn City Council’s having decided – on the basis of faux consultation – to ditch the Guy Fawkes fireworks display in favour of Matariki. These two events are in no way commensurate. And there is no reason why we cannot have both. This was pointed out by a councillor; but of course the mayor ignored her, in favour of the deputy mayor’s wishes. Grrr ..

        • Snow White says:

          “By all means commemorate (not celebrate) Parihaka. But let’s not lose Guy Fawkes day.” Oui, D’Esterre.

          Hopefully Willie Jackson may back-track. He back-tracked over his disgraceful response to the rotten little Akld Roast Busters boasting about getting our lovely young NZ girls drunk and then shagging them. I think Willie Jackson said that he was being Devil’s Advocate. You can say that again.

          Parihaka deserves the same dignity as Anzac Day.It needs to be carefully thought through lest it become – like Waitangi Day sometimes does- a day of discord and protest.Someone here suggested a day of peace, and that was good.

          WCC cancelling the city’s fireworks was typical wet pc’ness. I didn’t vote for Justin Lester, I just pretended to vote for him.I really voted for Helene Ritchie because she had a good record on Town Belt issues, and I liked her spirit.

          And this is where the WCC have to be watched. The proposed
          hyper development of the beautiful tranquil haven of Shelley Bay, if it goes ahead, should cost Lester and his cronies the next election – it epitomises every single worst aspect (well, many of them) of today’s society and is environmental sacrilege.

          The WCC and Willie Jackson need to know that cultural sensitivity is a two-way street.

          We with European roots are a long way from them, which makes it even more imperative that we be allowed to retain traditions and practices which are part of our histories, and our collective memories, however absurd they seem to others.

          When Jackson said Parihaka was more embedded to us, or had more meaning, he was making a value judgement, and he was setting up a sneaky ‘either’ ‘or’ situation, and this is once again a paternalistic (softer word than totalitarian) govt trying to manipulate the people into doing what it wants (or what it promised the Greens), when its job is to represent all the people, and to do what we want. For a change.

  11. countryboy says:

    Well, thank God we dumped Guy Fawkes day and kept the fire works to blow up effigies of roger douglas since we blew up the real roger douglas with them years ago. Remember that sky rocket we shoved up his arse! Awesome! And thank God we can now celebrate the day Maori and non Maori banded together to banish the foreign owned scum banksters. Then we re nationalised our assets, so that electricity, for example, is once again a small, inconsequential bill we pay with the spare change we keep in the cars ash tray. We can now enjoy tax-paid-for educations, dental, health and a basic living wage, affordable because we asset stripped those narcissistic, sociopathic sadists who re wrote our political mandates to best suit themselves and their pockets and put that money, the money they swindled off us, back into circulation in our rural communities from where it was stolen from. And now! ? Aye? We have those who were homeless, addicted, abused and down trodden, the victims of the scourge of the false reality we’ve come to know as Auckland, living in NZ/AO’s agricultural hinterlands, working four days a week, six hours a day in rotation growing foods and cannabis.
    And what a Guy Fawkes day that was! When we united our primary industry farmers with their down stream service industry providers to work together without them living in fear of being subjected to Machiavellian political head fuckery by money cultists gorging themselves on the funds earned by others! We can now provide an increasingly at risk global warming population with foods and organic clothing fibres in exchange for products and currency without fear of it ever being syphoned off by grifters.
    Hooray! What a day No-Longer-Guy-Fawkes-Day has become…….! That was a great idea of yours Willy Jackson!
    I must say… This room has nice, soft, rubber walls…

  12. Lone Comet says:

    It is totally weird, not to say meaningless, that we celebrate GF in NZ. It is creepy we burn a guy on a bonfire. Ditch the whole thing completely. Ditch private use of fireworks. Create a day to celebrate Parihaka, the inspiration for Ghandhi. It is not only historically and politically significant for NZ but also the world and the pacifist movement worldwide, being the first recognized use of it as a protest movement to try and effect change.

    • Snow White says:

      I rather think Gandhi’s development of satyagraha may have had its origins contributed to by Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching”, which advances a philosophy of meekness as the surest path to survival.

      The precept in Lao Tzu,’hold fast to the submissive’ was first published in China in about the fourth century BC. Over the following centuries ideas spread between China and India, initially via traders, and later by sages and gurus seeking to learn each others’ wisdom, which they did.

      As far as I know, the development of the Tao – which like the bible, likely had many authors – was as a survival technique during the Warring States period in China.

      The day-to-day people of India were often expected to be appallingly subservient to the plundering British well into the twentieth century, it was learned behaviour, and it didn’t always work.The good nature of Indian Indians I know towards the Brits is impressive.

      • D'Esterre says:

        Snow White: “I rather think Gandhi’s development of satyagraha may have had its origins contributed to by Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching”, which advances a philosophy of meekness as the surest path to survival.”

        Exactly. Assertions that Parihaka was an inspiration for Ghandi are just revisionism and further illustrate lack of knowledge about another area of deep and complex history.

        • Snow White says:

          The lack of knowledge which you identify D’Esterre, is a shame, because none of us know what we don’t know !

          India and China have vast, rich histories, and given that most significant movements evolve over time, any suggestion that Gandhi was culturally appropriating from Maori, may do a disservice to both about how they developed their respective protest practices.

          Historically there has been other documented passive resistance, but the ancient cultures visited each other specifically to seek out and learn wisdom, and maybe our politicians could do the same.

          (Think of John Key seeking wisdom… or English… Bennett…
          Gerry Brownlie…Collins… Simon B. How about that ?)

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