Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rachel Buchanan
Huia Publishers - $45

‘ The story of Parihaka did not end with the 1881 invasion or the 1907 deaths of its two leaders – Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi. It is difficult, impossible even, to find the place to put the final full stop to the story of this place, or the stories of many of Aotearoa New Zealand’s other trouble spots. Our world is saturated with the unfinished past, and yet it is so easy to be blind to it all, to pretend that the past is not really there at all and none of these disturbing things really happened. Open your eyes! Come with me on a road trip into the present past.’ Rachel Buchanan.

The Parihaka Album: Lest We Forget is an adventurous and unconventional historical memoir which will be officially launched this Wednesday 24 February at Wellington Railway Station. The book delves into the contradictions, forgotten stories and blind spots of colonisation in 19th century New Zealand and blends the personal and the historical. It tracks the author’s discovery of her family’s links with Parihaka and her Māori and Pākehā ancestors’ roles in the early days of the city that is now Wellington.

‘After growing up in Taranaki, doing a Phd on Parihaka and now writing a book, I know a lot about the place but I’ve still got a lot to learn’ says author Rachel Buchanan. ‘Parihaka is a story that got under my skin I guess when I was a school-kid, but my biggest inspiration was the big art show at City Gallery in 2000-2001. It was awe-inspiring and I wanted to know more about a place that could inspire so much passion. Now, nine years later, I think I understand!’

For those who would like a better understanding of the seeds of Māori grievance, this book would be of interest to serious and amateur New Zealand historians alike. However according to Rachel, ‘the people I really want to persuade are Pākehā. They are the “we” in the “lest we forget” of the title.’ And she believes the title also refers to her immediate whānau. ‘We need to discover and remember the lives of our ancestors, both Māori and Pākehā.’

Having trained as a journalist at several New Zealand papers including The Dominion, The Evening Post, The Southland Times and the Waikato Times, Rachel currently teaches journalism at La Trobe University in Melbourne and is a contributor to the Melbourne Age newspaper.

The official launch of the book will be held on Wednesday 24 February at Port Nicholson Trust Social Hall, Platform 9, Wellington Railway Station, 55 Waterloo Quay, Wellington at 5.30pm.

1 comment:

The Reader said...

I've never read anything on this subject -- it looks fascinating.

The Reader
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