Ko Taranaki Te Maunga

Ko Taranaki Te Maunga

Parihaka was a place and an event that could be lost and found, over and over. It moved into view, then disappeared, just like the mountain.

In 1881, over 1,500 colonial troops invaded the village of Parihaka near the Taranaki coast. Many people were expelled, buildings destroyed, and chiefs Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi were jailed.

In this BWB Text, Rachel Buchanan tells her own, deeply personal story of Parihaka. Beginning with the death of her father, a man with affiliations to many of Taranaki’s eight iwi, she describes her connection to Taranaki, the land and mountain; and the impact of confiscation. Buchanan discusses the apologies and settlements that have taken place since te pāhuatanga, the invasion of Parihaka.

What are BWB Texts?

BWB Texts are short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers. Spanning contemporary issues, history and memoir, new BWB Texts are released regularly, and the series now amounts to well over fifty works.

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Table of contents

1. Time zones
2. Paper mountain
3. The very long sorry
4. Beating shame
5. The translator
6. Ko Taranaki Te Maunga
About the author
About BWB Texts

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Sep 2018
Pages: 152
RRP: $14.99
ISBN: 9781988545288
DOI: 10.7810/9781988545288

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Finalist in the 2019 W.H. Oliver Prize (Best Book) on New Zealand’s history!

'Time and Memory', Kirsty Gover, Arena magazine, Issue 163, December 2019 (book review).

'Treaty settlements and the enjoyment of land rights', Rachel Buchanan, E-Tangata, 3 November 2019.

'Who gets to speak for the people of Parihaka?', Rachel Buchanan, The Spinoff, 12 August 2019.

'Absolute fact: These are the 20 best non-fiction books of 2018', The Spinoff, 12 December 2018.

'The legacy of Parihaka is discussed by two experts – Dr Rachel Buchanan and Mahara Okeroa', includes audio from commemorative event (39'55''), RNZ, 15 November 2018.

'Dr Rachel Buchanan: 'The shame of Parihaka is so great it can never end'', Te Ahi Kaa, RNZ, 4 November 2018.

'Books of the week', Stuff, 6 October 2018.

'Parihaka - the time for apologies is over', Standing Room Only, RNZ, 16 September 2018.

'Rachel Buchanan, author of Ko Taranaki Te Maunga', RadioLive, 15 September 2018.

'Apology fatigue sparks Parihaka rethink', Radio Waatea, 11 September 2018.

'New book weaves author's personal story of Parihaka with its history of loss and reconciliation', Deena Coster, Stuff, 10 September 2018.

'Rachel Buchanan: Ko Taranaki Te Maunga', e-Tangata, 9 September 2018.

'Rachel Buchanan Author', Rachel Buchanan interviewed by Dale Husband, Radio Waatea, 7 September 2018.


'Human stories of loss and persistence are the focus of Rachel Buchanan’s beautiful book Ko Taranaki Te Maunga. In this book, Buchanan faces her mountain. She turns her attention to the many painful reasons why the most important stories about Taranaki are hard to come by and hard to hear. She wonders if the nine Parihaka apologies offered by the Crown to Taranaki iwi do much justice, and whether the latest apology, just now enacted in the Te Pire Haeata ki Parihaka/Parihaka Reconciliation Bill 2019, succeeds in its efforts to improve on the others. She laces the stories of Taranaki together with those of her family and ancestors.'
– Kirsty Gover, Meanjin Vol 79 No1, 17 March 2020.

'Unlike so many other published works written about Parihaka and Taranaki, Buchanan presents an indigenous perspective (which unfortunately is rare) that goes against the personal detachment so often associated with historical scholarship. The writing is interfused with personal narratives. A personal story is being told, one that enables readers to feel an emotional connection with events and hopefully gain a deeper understanding of the traumas experienced in Taranaki and Parihaka.'
– Katrina Tamaira, Archives and Manuscripts, 22 March 2020.

'She laces the stories of Taranaki together with those of her family and ancestors, and the result is an intricate and generous work that is unexpectedly moving.'
– Kirsty Gover, Arena magazine, Issue 163, December 2019.

'A captivating, reflective history weaving personal and political observations with a lived experience.... It is a work equally creative and powerful. The book brings an important new perspective on Parihaka...',
– Judges' report, 2019 W.H. Oliver Prize (Best Book) on New Zealand’s history (finalist).

'It is an intensely personal account that wrestles with [the author's] own identity ... it manages to pack a lot into its six short chapters.'
– Lachy Paterson, Australian Historical Studies, 50:4, 536-537, November 2019.

'This is a small gem of a book, insightful and thought-provoking for anyone who is interested in the ongoing impacts of archives, records, recordkeeping, record creators and keepers.'
– Belinda Battley, Archifacts Journal, May 2019.

'A thoughtful and intimate book that may send readers to other sources dealing with the full history and long-term effects of colonisation that are still with us today, and evident in the reluctance of some non-Māori to accept that there are good historical reasons why Māori continue to suffer under the fallout from history.'
– Gerry Te Kapa Coates, Landfall, 1 March 2019.

'A whakapapa-memoir which uncovers fresh layers of the old and emblematic story of Parihaka being violently and lengthily smashed by the colony, and tells a moving and elegant tale of Buchanan’s findings on her family and Parihaka. A tiny wee book, but it delivers like an 800-pager.'
– The Spinoff, 12 December 2018.

'In this short but powerful text, Rachel Buchanan uses the tools of an archivist to scale what she calls the paper mountain – the records and documents surrounding the events at Parihaka – to give new meaning to the echoes of invasion that still sound throughout Taranaki.'
– Paul Moenboyd, BooksellersNZ, 29 October 2018.

'A very powerful amalgamation of personal memoir and history. So, we don’t get this level very often. I think this is really very up-there....It’s a dream to read....It’s a personal story but it’s of national interest.'
– Tilly Lloyd, RNZ, 12 October 2018.