The Taranaki village of Parihaka was where peaceful protest met military force. On 5 November 1881, 1400+ troops expelled the inhabitants, and destroyed much of the village. Māori prophets Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi — who led the passive resistance — were detained without trial. Tim Finn was inspired to write this tribute to Te Whiti and Parihaka after reading Dick Scott’s book Ask That Mountain: The Story of Parihaka. Band Herbs provide the accompaniment. Alun Bollinger and director Fane Flaws filmed Finn in front of Colin McCahon’s striking Parihaka artwork, over the course of a night at Auckland Art Gallery.
I suppose Pākehā’s are pretty gutless in this country of stepping in and mingling, but then some aren't, like [Colin] McCahon etcetera. I think you just have to jump in and do it, honestly, from the heart. I know there were some Māori people that thought 'Why the hell is he doing that, what does he know about it?' I am sure there were very mixed reactions from Māori people.– Tim Finn on singing about Parihaka, quoted on website Puke Ariki, 20 October 2003