31 Aug 2010

Greenstone club stolen from tomb of Parihaka founder

5:35 pm on 31 August 2010

A greenstone club has been stolen from the tomb of one of the founders of Parihaka Pa in Taranaki.

The greenstone club, or mere pounamu, was encased behind thick glass in the base of the tomb at Parihaka, where Te Whiti o Rongomai was laid to rest in 1907.

Police in Opunake say the theft took place last Wednesday or Thursday.

Hundreds of people had visited the pa the week before then, during a funeral of one of its leaders, Te Miringa Hohaia, which lasted five days.

Many of Parihaka's treasures were plundered in 1881 when 1500 troops invaded the village, which was already famous for employing tactics of passive resistance against colonisation.

Te Whiti o Rongomai and his uncle Tohu Kakahi founded the pa in 1867 as a place for dispossessed Maori and to resist further land confiscations.