Taranaki Prisoners' Memorial 

The Parihaka memorial located on the north-west corner of the old Dominion Museum building, now part of Massey University's Wellington campus, remembers the prisoners from Taranaki who were held at Mount Cook Barracks and later sent to South Island gaols. The memorial’s main stone symbolically depicts a prisoner wrapped in a blanket, with a bowed head. Stones gathered from streams in Taranaki form the base and represent the prisoners. 

Among the prisoners commemorated by this memorial outside are those of Pakakohi and Tangahoe who surrendered to Major Noake's forces in June 1869 as well as those arrested during the ploughing campaigns of the late 1870s and early 1880s.

Parihaka ploughmen and fencers, New Zealand's largest ever group of political prisoners, were held at the nearby Mt Cook military barracks before being shipped south. Men from Parihaka, possibly even Te Whiti himself, were among the prisoners who made the orange bricks that comprise the heritage-listed Tasman Street Wall. Many of the bricks are marked with small prison arrows.


Plaque inscriptions:

"This memorial is dedicated to the prisoners / from Taranaki who were taken from their land / who passed through Wellington to prison in / the South Island / Many prisoners died whilst in custody."

"The major stone / of this memorial / symbolically depicts / a prisoner standing / with bowed head / wrapped in his / prison blanket."

"Stones gathered from streams in / Taranaki circle upwards from / the base, representing numbers / of prisoners taken through / Wellington to South Island jails / The white pebble stones inset in this / paving refer to the 'Lost Genealogy' / of the men taken who died in the prisons / Each half curve in the spiral - a stylised / fern frond, representing the loss / of those men. The spiral also symbolises / the journey they took from Taranaki / to the South Island / The lines symbolise bars or bonds / under which they were kept."


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