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Historian gets Parihaka poroporoaki
Photo: Beatties Book Blog.

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Historian, academic and wool classer Hazel Riseborough, whose book on Taranaki land confiscations became a blueprint for research on the Taranaki Claims, has been farewelled at Parihaka.

Dr Riseborough died on Friday at her rest home in Taupo aged 90.

Parihaka spokesperson Ruakere Hond says the community asked for her to be brought to the pā for the final night before her funeral because of her long record of service.

He first remembers her visiting in 1983 while researching the doctoral thesis that became her book Days of Darkness: The Government and Parihaka. Taranaki 1878-84.

While Dick Scott’s Ask That Mountain brought the Parihaka story to a wider public, Days of Darkness included a huge amount of detail, especially from government archives and documentary sources, which had previously been unavailable to the people.

“Most of us use it as a reference point. When questions arise about what happened and when, it’s all mapped out through those years with an understanding of the breadth of it, especially the pāhua or plunder of Parihaka,” Dr Hond says.

“It was not just the book - she was always ready to come and help and speak at our events, including at the speakers’ forum during the peace festivals.”

Dr Riseborough’s other passions included the environment and the wool industry, with her other publications including Shear Hard Work: A history of New Zealand shearing.

She also had a passion for Massey University, where she started her studies in the 1950s and went on to teach for many years.

In lieu of flowers, Dr Riseborough suggested a donation to The Pukawa Wildlife Management Trust - PWMT Direct Credit Account 38 9002 0326435 00.

Haere rā e kui, e tukua nei koe kia torotoro ki te pō nui o nehe, ha

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