Feathers of Peace



The symbol of Parihaka, where I am now, is three white feathers - albatross feathers. During the time of the peace village here, back in the 1800s, an albatross landed, which they never do (they are deep sea birds) in the middle of the village, then flew away, leaving behind three feathers. The prophet of the people here, Tawhiti, decided it was a powerful omen, like the dove in noah's ark that went out to find land - a symbol of hope.

 

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The feathers of peace

 

The festival has been deeply profound. The last three days in Parihaka have been like a month. Staying in the marae, sleeping side by side with the elders, in the place of honour, interviewing them - the elder Hualongi is a showman and a compelte trickster himself, and a PHD trickster at that, comfortably interweaving maori spirtuality (which in fact has a deep empathy for tibetan buddhism) and quaantum physics, the primordial and the earth, spirit and action. The sacred warrior. And breaking into song. Everyone here sings. Whenever you talk to a group, you have to end with a song, any song. We did a starhawk chant.

The story here will be what happened in 1880 when 2000 soldiers were about to descend on this peace village, which was lead by two prophets of incredible fire - and they decided to meet the soldiers in the first major display of nonviolent resistance known. First the children, playing with their poi (now popularized at burning man!) and singing, like cicadas, bringing food and laughter to the soldiers.

 


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The childrens parade.

 

today there is a recreation of that original peace village, with ten thousand people of all ages coming for a weekend of peace forums, maori ritual, techno music, and a main stage with a diverse mix of maori bands (who are amazing) and other world beat artists, in a stunning setting with a volcano in the background, fire dancers, fireworks, fire walking, deep deep power in this place. mythical, mystical and fierce. and funny. lots of laughter. I've been given such a gift here - a backstage pass to the maori world, and have been fully embraced. simply by being authentic, and not being grasping or greedy, but respectful and clear. I've brought a crow that my mother (who is a chainsaw artist) made for me, as a gift to the Maori. The elders found the interviewing process deeply moving, and thought provoking.

 


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Mahinekura, our gracious Maori host from Parihaka

 

 


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The sacred volcano, Taranaki, rises in the background

 


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Velcrow trying his hand at Poi, invented by the Maori

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The mainstage of the Peace FestivaThe symbol of Parihaka, where I am now, is three white feathers - albatross feathers. During the time of the peace village here, back in the 1800s, an albatross landed, which they never do (they are deep sea birds) in the middle of the village, then flew away, leaving behind three feathers. The prophet of the people here, Tawhiti, decided it was a powerful omen, like the dove in noah's ark that went out to find land - a symbol of hope.