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Architectural History Aotearoa, 10, 77-92

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This article examines the architecture of Parihaka, a Māori community in Taranaki, which became the site of a significant historical event on November 5, 1881, when government troops invaded the pā, arresting leaders and destroying buildings.

The author explores the architectural elements of Parihaka at the time of the invasion, focusing on key structures like Te Whiti’s house, Tohu’s house, the communal bank, and the dining hall. Wood argues that the colonial government perceived these structures as symbolically threatening, leading to their deliberate destruction. He asserts that this action aimed to erase the Māori presence and asserts the importance of these buildings in Māori history. The paper employs period photographs as primary sources to analyse the architecture and its significance. It offers a detailed and insightful analysis of the architecture of Parihaka and its significance in the broader context of New Zealand’s colonial history. By focusing on the symbolic and practical aspects of the buildings at Parihaka, Wood highlights the intersection of architecture, politics, and culture. He argues that the colonial government’s destruction of Parihaka’s architecture was not just a physical act of demolition but also a symbolic erasure of Māori identity and resistance. The article is significant for its contribution to understanding the role of architecture in colonial and indigenous histories. Wood’s use of period photographs as a basis for his analysis adds a unique dimension to the study, offering a visual understanding of the events and architecture of Parihaka.

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