Archives for posts with tag: New Zealand


After four years of campaigning (including bearing witness and taking direct action by Greenpeace activists on the Rainbow Warrior against bottom trawling fishing vessels in the Tasman Sea) to bring an end to deep-sea bottom trawling, an international agreement has been made to protect just under 25 percent of the high seas from this incredibly destructive fishing method.

Representatives from countries around the world gathered in Chile to carve out a fisheries agreement for the South Pacific region. Following a resolution made by the UN in 2006, the countries at the meeting responded strongly with measures to stop destruction of deep water corals, seamounts and other sensitive habitats by vessels that  are bottom trawling in international waters.

From September 2007 bottom trawling vessels in the South Pacific will not be able to fish in areas that have or are even likely to have vulnerable marine ecosystems, unless they’ve completed an assessment to show they won’t do any damage.

The New Zealand fishing industry is responsible for 90 percent of bottom trawling in the region. New Zealand delegates told the meeting these measures would “severely constrain the ability of their fishing industry to continue bottom trawling on the high seas around New Zealand”  and suggested that it may even have the effect of putting an end to bottom trawling.

We’ll be watching to make sure that New Zealand – and all the member countries – put the agreement into action, and implement the measures that will protect the irreplaceable biodiversity of deep sea ecosystems.

Image: Crewman on the New Zealand bottom trawler dump a large piece of ‘Paragorgia’ coral dredged from the deep sea in their net.


Te Whiti (?–1907), born during the turmoil of the ‘musket wars‘, was of the Taranaki tribe Te Āti Awa. It is said he was identified as a teacher and prophet early in life, and much care was taken to ensure his safety. His stature in the Māori traditional world was enhanced by his deep knowledge of Christian doctrine. Te Whiti was said to have taken part in the Taranaki wars of the 1860s, but by the mid-1860s he had decided to pursue peaceful resistance to European incursion and the loss of land.

One tradition has it that Te Whiti and his people first moved to the inland village later known as Parihaka in the 1840s, to escape the social and economic pressures of coastal life. Other sources say he began living there in the 1860s after the Taranaki wars and subsequent land confiscations. In any event Parihaka became a centre of peaceful resistance and a rallying point for many Māori. Parihaka was led by Te Whiti and his relative and fellow prophet Tohu Kakahi. The main focus of Māori discontent was land confiscation and the government’s failure to set aside promised reserves.

In 1879 the government began to survey 16,000 acres of the confiscated Waimate Plain without setting aside Māori reserves. In response, Māori, led by Te Whiti and Tohu, began ploughing land occupied by settlers. Arrests followed, but the pace of protest continued to grow. Parihaka became a symbol for many Māori, and its people received food and other supplies from many tribes throughout the country – including those as far away as the Chatham Islands.

On 5 November 5 1881 a force of almost 1,600 Armed Constabulary and volunteers, led by Native Minister John Bryce, invaded Parihaka. The Māori inhabitants, numbering about 2,000, put up no resistance. Instead they greeted Bryce and his men with bread and song. They were dispersed and Te Whiti and Tohu were arrested. The soldiers then systematically wrecked the settlement, and Māori tradition speaks of brutality and rape.

Te Whiti was charged with ‘wickedly, maliciously, and seditiously contriving and intending to disturb the peace’. Held without trial, he was not released until 1883, when he returned to the ruined Parihaka settlement. Te Whiti and Tohu continued to lead peaceful Māori protest, and Te Whiti was imprisoned again for six months in 1886. In 1892 the West Coast Settlement Reserves Act brought in a system of renewable leases to settlers on over 200,000 acres of Māori land. Māori persisted with the ploughing campaigns in protest at the Act. In 1897, 92 Māori were arrested for ploughing in protest at delays in resolving the grievances over the Native Trustee’s management of these leases.

Te Whiti and Tohu died in 1907 within a few months of each other. The white albatross feather, which Te Whiti’s followers adopted as a symbol protecting the mana of the Parihaka settlement, remains an enduring emblem among Te Āti Awa.

Te Whiti-o-Rongomai

Ka whānau mai a Te Whiti (?-1907) i te wā o ngā pakanga mau pū i waenganui i ngā iwi. Ko tōna iwi ko Te Āti Awa o Taranaki. E ai ki ngā kōrero, e tamariki tonu ana a Te Whiti ka puta i a ia ngā tohu o te matakite, o te poropiti. I āta manaakitia ia e tōna iwi. I tua atu, he tangata matatau ia ki te whakapono Karaitiana; kātahi ka nui atu ngā rongo kōrero mōna i te ao Māori. E ai ki te kōrero, i roto a Te Whiti i ngā riri ki Taranaki i te tekau tau atu i 1860. Heoti, tae rawa ki te pokapū o taua tekau tau, kua huri kē ia ki te mautohe mārie ki te tomo mai o te Pākehā me te rironga o ngā whenua.

Tērā tētahi kōrero e mea ana i whakatūria te kāinga o Parihaka e Te Whiti mā i te tekau tau atu i 1840, hei wāhi haumaru i ngā whakararu ki takutai. Tērā tētahi atu kōrero e mea ana, nō muri rawa i ngā riri me te raupatunga whenua o te tekau tau atu i 1860, ka tū tōna kāinga i Parihaka. Ahakoa he aha, ka tipu a Parihaka hei pokapū mō ngā mautohe mārie a te iwi Māori. Ko Te Whiti rāua ko tōna pāpā a Tohu Kakahi ngā kaiārahi. Rite a Tohu rāua ko Te Whiti, he matakite. Ko te take nui ki te iwi Māori ko ngā whenua i raupatutia me te kore tutuki i te kāwanatanga tana kī taurangi mō ngā whenua ka rāhuitia mō te Māori.

I te tau 1879 ka tīmata te kāwanatanga ki te rūri i te whenua raupatu e 16,000 eka te rahi i ngā mānia o Waimate. Kāore i rāhuitia he wāhanga o tēnei whenua mō te Māori. Hei utu mō tēnei, ka tīmata a Te Whiti rātou ko Tohu, ko te iwi ki te parau i ngā whenua kei te nōhia e te Pākehā. Ka mauherea ētahi. Hāunga tērā, ka nui haere ngā mautohe, ka tū a Parihaka hei tohu whakakaha i te tini o te iwi Māori. Ka tukua mai e tēnā iwi, e tēnā iwi he kai, tae rawa ki Wharekauri.

I te rā 5 o Nōema o te tau 1881 ka whakaekea a Parihaka e ngā Pirihimana Mau Pū me ngā tūao e 1600 te rahi; ko tō rātou kaiārahi ko te Minita mō ngā Take Māori, a Te Paraihe (John Bryce). Kāore i ātetetia tō rātou kuhu e te iwi o Parihaka e 2000 pea te tokomaha. Ka horahia ngā kai mā Te Paraihe me tōna ope, ka waiatatia rātou. Kia ahatia. Whakamararatia ana te iwi, mauheretia ana a Te Whiti rāua ko Tohu. Wāwāhia ana te kāinga o Parihaka. Kei te mau tonu ngā kōrero tuku iho mō ngā mahi whakarihariha a ngā hōia, tā rātou tūkino i ngā wāhine.

Ka ūhia ngā whakapae ki runga i a Te Whiti mō te “whakatutū i te puehu i runga i te kino, i te ngākau waniwani”. Ka mauherea ia, hāunga te mea kāore anō kia tū he whakawākanga. Nō te tau 1883 ka tukua ia. I tana hokinga kua pākarukaru katoa a Parihaka. Ka ārahi tonu a Te Whiti rāua ko Tohu i ngā mautohe mārire, whai anō i te tau 1886 ka whiua anōtia a Te Whiti ki te whare herehere mō te ono marama. Nā te Ture Whakatau Papa Rāhui o te Tai Hauāuru o te tau 1892, ka tareka e ngā tāngata whai te whakahou i ā rātou rīhi i runga i ngā whenua Māori e 200,000 eka. Hei ātete i te ture nei, ka haere tonu ngā mautohe mārire a ngā Māori. I te tau 1897, e 92 ngā tāngata Māori i mauherea mō te parau whenua; i mautohe nā te takaroa o te whakatau i ō rātou nawe mō ngā whakahaere a te Kaitiaki Māori i ngā rīhi nei.

Nō te tau 1907 i mate ai a Te Whiti rāua ko Tohu. Ko te raukura toroa te tohu a ngā pononga o Te Whiti e whakaū ana i te mana o Parihaka, e mau tonu nei i roto o Te Āti Awa i ēnei rā.

60 Stop the 81 Tour

The 1981 Springbok (South African) rugby tour was among the most divisive events in New Zealand’s history. In the 1960s and 70s, many New Zealanders had come to believe that playing sport with South Africa condoned its racist apartheid system. Others disagreed.

‘I have a moral objection to the apartheid system and, like most sportsmen, I want less political influence in sport.’
    Graham Mourie, All Black captain, 1982

For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. More than 150,000 people took part in over 200 demonstrations in 28 centres, and 1500 were charged with offences stemming from these protests.

To some observers it might seem inconceivable that the cause of this unrest was the visit to New Zealand of the South African rugby team (the Springboks). Although not a major sport on a global scale, rugby has established itself not only as New Zealand’s number one sport but as a vital component in this country’s national identity. In many ways the playing of rugby took a back seat in 1981, and the sport suffered in the following years as players and supporters came to terms with the fallout from the tour.

The anti-Springbok tour protesters argued that sport was not separate from politics, especially when New Zealand was up against a South African team selected on racial grounds. They felt that playing rugby against South Africa condoned apartheid. Some also saw the tour as an opportunity to address racism in New Zealand.

Pro-tour supporters claimed that politics had nothing to do with sport and that the two areas should remain separate.

Some commentators have described this event as the moment when New Zealand lost its innocence as a country and as being a watershed in our view of ourselves as a country and people.

South Africa’s policy of apartheid – racial separateness – was officially adopted in 1948. Apartheid excluded non-white players, and therefore Maori, from touring there. In the 1950s, few New Zealanders questioned this.

Rugby came first, and rugby officials chose to respect the policies of whichever country was hosting. This meant that Maori were excluded whenever the All Blacks toured South Africa, but not when the Springboks toured New Zealand.

The All Blacks, without Maori players, toured South Africa in 1949, losing all four tests. In 1956, the Springboks toured New Zealand, and the All Blacks, with Maori players included, triumphed.

The 1984 Labour Government was officially against apartheid, and discouraged sporting contact with South Africa. Under internal and external pressure, South Africa’s apartheid system began collapsing in 1990. The All Blacks resumed touring there in 1992.

Badge, ‘STOP The ’81 Tour’ 1981, HART (Halt All Racist Tours) (1969–1992), New Zealand. Gift of Annette Anderson, 2009. Te Papa

44 Patu

Merata Mita’s Patu! is a startling documentary record of the mass civil disobedience that took place throughout New Zealand during the winter of 1981, in protest against a South African rugby tour. Testament to the courage and faith of both the filmmakers and marchers, Patu! is a landmark in New Zealand’s film history. It staunchly contradicts claims by author Gordon McLauchlan a couple of years earlier that New Zealanders were “a passionless people”.

“The most controversial, and the most contested, event in recent New Zealand history was the 1981 South African rugby tour. Half the country was opposed to the tour, the establishment was determined the tour would go ahead, and the result was a country divided against itself almost to the point of civil war. This incredible documentary shows what happened. The actual filming was both dangerous and difficult and attempts were made to have the negative confiscated… [Merata Mita’s] achievement is as impressive technically as it is effective emotionally. A major documentary of our time.” – London Film Festival.

“Many people gave their time, money and equipment to see Patu! completed, and it could never have been done otherwise. I was asked repeatedly if I thought I was the right person to make the film, or why I was making it. The reason I was asked the question was that some people told me they feared that the film would not be accurate because it would have a Maori perspective! The Pakeha bias in all things recorded in Aotearoa was never questioned. The other reason they gave was that my politics extended no further than the Maori and the marae, and was I sure I understood the international ramifications of the tour. Yes, Patu! has a Maori perspective but it does not override the mass mobilisation of New Zealand’s white middle class, neither does it take credit from those who rightly deserve it, everyone who put themselves on the line. My perspective encourages people to look at themselves and examine the ground they stand on, while fighting racial injustice thousands of miles across the sea.” – Merata Mita.

“The year the Film Archive was founded was also the year the Springbok Tour revealed a huge division in New Zealand society. As thousands of New Zealanders took to the streets to demonstrate their solidarity with the victims of apartheid, battalions of film makers and photographers recorded the confrontations with police and rugby diehards. The credit list on this film is a who’s who of the renaissance of New Zealand cinema. Their contributions, running to many hours, were edited into an incredibly persuasive feature by Merata Mita. ‘You may even be in it’ ran the tagline on the posters, but the tone of the film is far from self-congratulatory. Mita was determined that Patu! screenings not become the RSA for anti-tour vets. Disgust at apartheid and dissatisfaction with New Zealand race relations are inseparable in her film.” – Bill Gosden, New Zealand International Film Festival, 2006


40 years ago Fri was arrested in International waters at Moruroa in Polynesia by the French Navy for protesting against Nuclear testing.

It is said by some French navy personnel that the encounter with the Fri was one of the greatest defeats suffered by the navy. She is a yacht that spearheaded an international protest of a flotilla of yachts in a voyage against atmospheric nuclear tests at Moruroa in French Polynesia in 1973.

Fri was an important part of a series of anti-nuclear protest campaigns out of New Zealand which lasted thirty years, from which New Zealand declared itself a nuclear-free zone which was enshrined in legislation in what became the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987. In 1974, coordinated by Greenpeace New Zealand, the Fri embarked on a 3 year epic 40,233 kilometers “Pacific Peace Odyssey” voyage, carrying the peace message to all nuclear states around the world. Fri was built for sail alone; a Baltic coastal trader constructed out of oak in 1912 in Svendborg Denmark. She is 32 meters long with a gaff rig, hand winches, and traditional ropes and canvas sails. In 1969 she carried 60 tons of cargo on an historic passage between Northern Europe and San Francisco. In 1970 she carried fresh water to the American Indian activists who had seized and occupied Alcatraz Island from the Government. In 1971 under her new owners American David Moodie and his brothers, the Fri sailed from Hawaii to New Zealand crewed by a group of hippie consumer escapes, in search of adventure and an alternative lifestyle down-under. This epic voyage to New Zealand would result in the vessel and its owners carving their name in New Zealand peace history.

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Today is the 28th anniversary of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.

When New Zealand and Australia aligned themselves with the United States via the ANZUS agreement in 1951, they effectively accepted the protection of what some described as the nuclear umbrella. Nuclear weapons played a major part in the United States’ military arrangements, and the possible use of nuclear weapons or nuclear-powered vessels was implicit in any United States response to an attack on New Zealand.

While from the 1960s New Zealand consistently protested against nuclear testing in the Pacific, its defence arrangements meant that it engaged with nuclear weaponry in other forms. From the early 1970s to the mid-1980s two key issues emerged: opposition to French nuclear tests at Mururoa and to American warships’ visits to New Zealand.

Mururoa (also called Moruroa) Atoll became the focal point for both the tests and opposition to them. Greenpeace vessels sailed into the test site in 1972, and the following year the New Zealand and Australian governments took France to the International Court of Justice in an attempt to ban tests. France ignored the court’s ruling that they cease testing.

The third Labour government, led by Norman Kirk, responded by sending two navy frigates, HMNZS Canterbury and Otago, into the test area. A Cabinet minister was also selected to accompany this protest. Prime Minister Kirk put all the Cabinet ministers’ names into a hat and drew out the name of Fraser Colman, the minister of immigration and mines. He sailed from Auckland on 25 June aboard the Otago, which carried a crew of 242. A month later the ship was at Mururoa, and those on board witnessed the first atmospheric test. Fraser Colman transferred to the Canterbury when it arrived to relieve the Otago on 25 July, and he and the crew of the Canterbury saw the second French atmospheric test on Mururoa. These protests achieved some limited success because in 1974 the new French president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, ordered that the tests move underground. With testing continuing, however, Mururoa remained a focus of anti-nuclear protest.

The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland in July 1985 was a defining moment in this period. Codenamed Opération Satanique, it was an operation by the ‘action’ branch of the French foreign intelligence service, carried out on 10 July 1985. It aimed to sink the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, to prevent her from peacefully bearing witness and interfering in a nuclear test in Moruroa.

Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship. Two French agents were arrested by the New Zealand Police. They were charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage and murder. As part of a plea bargain, they pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to ten years in prison, of which they served just over two.

In the wake of the bombing, a flotilla of private New Zealand yachts sailed to Moruroa to protest against the French test.

At that time, French nuclear tests in the Pacific were halted. However, another series of tests was conducted in 1995.

The Rainbow Warrior was refloated for forensic examination. She was deemed irreparable and scuttled at 34.9748°S 173.9349°E in Matauri Bay, near the Cavalli Islands, on 12 December 1987, to serve as a dive wreck and fish sanctuary. Her masts had been removed and put on display at the Dargaville Maritime museum.

In 1987 Labour passed the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act. In a largely symbolic act, the United States Congress retaliated with the Broomfield Act, downgrading New Zealand’s status from ally to friend. David Lange stated that if the security alliance was the price New Zealand must pay to remain nuclear-free, ‘it is the price we are prepared to pay’. In 1989, 52% of New Zealanders indicated that they would rather break defence ties than admit nuclear-armed ships. By 1990 even National had signed up to anti-nuclearism.

Cycling On The Harbour Bridge – The Electric Era

The Auckland Harbour Bridge is an eight-lane motorway bridge over the Waitemata Harbour. It is part of the Auckland Northern Motorway. The bridge is operated by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). It is the second-longest road bridge in New Zealand, and the longest in the North Island.
It is 1,020 m long, with a main span of 243.8 m, rising 43.27 m above high water allowing ships access to the deepwater wharf at the Chelsea Sugar Refinery.

While often considered an Auckland icon there has been criticism. Many see the construction of the bridge without walking, cycling and rail facilities as a big oversight.

On Sunday, 24 May 2009, thousands of people crossed the bridge as a part of a protest by GetAcross against the bridge not providing walking and cycling access, and against what the group perceives to be the authorities’ negative and obstructionist attitude towards such access. A crossing either as part of the protest or as part of the official 50-year anniversary celebrations had been forbidden by NZTA because of the costs and traffic difficulties claimed for a managed crossing. However, after several speeches, including by Auckland Regional Council Chairman Mike Lee, several people made their way around the police cordon onto the bridge. At that stage police closed the northbound lanes to traffic, bringing State Highway 1 to a stop. The remainder of the protesters moving onto the bridge, which was not resisted any more by the police. No accidents, violence or arrests were reported, and protesters left the bridge approximately an hour later, many having crossed to the North Shore and back.

The protest created a wide spectrum of responses in the media and in public perception, from being labelled a dangerous stunt representative of an increasingly lawless, anarchic society to being considered a successful signal to authorities to give more weight to the demands and the public backing of the walk and cycleway proponents. Authorities noted that they were investigating whether any of the protesters would face fines or charges. NZTA representatives noted that they were disappointed at what they considered the broken word of the organisers of the protest, and remarked that it would take 30 more years before walking and cycling could likely be provided.NZTA were criticised as having brought the situation at least partly onto themselves by choosing the easy route of forbidding the protest crossing. Several political protest marches (especially hikois) had been allowed to cross the bridge.

28 Bastion Point

The image is of the Bastion Point flag from about 1977 (replica) 1977, Original flag designed by Orakei Maori Action Committee, New Zealand. Reproduced courtesy of Hawke Whanau Trust.

A flag like this flew during Ngati Whatua’s occupation of Takaparawha (Bastion Point) in Auckland, New Zealand, during 1977–78. It depicts the mangopare (hammerhead shark), a symbol of tenacity.

From 1912, Ngati Whatua opposed sales of land that they claimed had been wrongly taken from them. By the 1950s, they held less than 1 hectare.

In 1977, a housing development planned for Bastion Point – Ngati Whatua land taken by the Crown – was the final straw. Protesters occupied the site for 506 days until the government sent in the police and army. The protest camp was demolished, and 222 protesters were arrested.

In 1987, the Waitangi Tribunal upheld Ngati Whatua’s claims, and much of their land was returned.

Whaling Expedition (Southern Ocean - 1999)

Many people and organisations have been working on this matter, resulting in a multi facetted story of bravery and tiny successes.

Protests at sea and on land, bearing witness to the slaughter, lobbying to name a few.

At present (June 2013) Australia, with the support of New Zealand, is in the international court of justice and has asked the court to withdraw all permits for future whale hunts from the Japanese fleet, including those labelled ‘scientific’.

In 2008, Greenpeace anti-whaling activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, the Tokyo Two, acting on a tip from an informant who claimed to be a member of a whaling crew, intercepted a box of whale meat at a Seino Transportation Company delivery depot in Aomori, and handed it over to the police as evidence of a theft ring within the whaling industry. Japan says the industry is for scientific research but receives criticism for the meat being sold in shops and restaurants. Sato and Suzuki held a news conference, intending to expose what they called embezzlement of whale meat. An investigation was opened, but no charges were brought against the whalers after the investigators found that the meat was intended as souvenirs and was not sold. Seino submitted a breakage report to Aomori Police.

About a month after the news conference, Sato and Suzuki were arrested and charged with theft and trespass. According to the activists, they were detained by police for 26 days, and were held without charge for 23 days. According to a United Nations human rights group, their treatment by Japanese authorities was arbitrary and contravened elements of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Also Amnesty International expressed their concern about the treatment and stated that they believed that the detention and charges of Sato and Suzuki may have been aimed at intimidating activists. During his interrogation by police, Suzuki claims he was compared to the Aum Supreme Truth group, which committed poison gas attacks on the Tokyo subway. The two activists faced up to 18 months in prison. Sato stated on June 24, 2010 that, while he believes that he and Suzuki will be convicted, he has no regrets, because he believes that the “wrong-doing” had to be exposed.

On September 6, 2010, they were found guilty of trespass and of stealing whale meat they believed to have been illegally diverted from whaling research for personal profit. They were sentenced to one year in prison by the Aomori District Court, but the sentences were suspended for three years. They appealed the ruling on the basis that activists should not be punished for uncovering wrongdoing. On July 12, 2011, the Sendai Appellate Court rejected their appeal.

Prior to the alleged theft of whale meat, at a news conference outside the 2007 International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, Sato expressed support for aggressive confrontations between anti-whaling groups and whalers in the Southern Ocean. Sato now believes that anti-whaling organizations should not engage in annual confrontations with whaling expeditions in the Southern Ocean, and should instead focus on “campaigning with words.” Furthermore, he argues that outside groups which wish to change whaling in Japan need to understand that any change that happens will occur slowly, but that such changes are possible and currently occurring.


Women’s Suffrage, the right of women to vote and stand office, was an important political issue in the late 19th century in many places and in many countries granted before Universal Suffrage, the right to vote independent or race, sex, status, belief, wealth or social status.

One hundred years ago (June 1912) Emily Davison ran in front of the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby race, carrying two suffrage flags – suffering fatal injuries and becoming a suffragette martyr, and raising the profile of the campaign.

New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote in modern times in 1893 after two decades of campaigning by women such as Kate Sheppard (see picture).

In the US beginning in the mid 19th century several generations of women marched, protested, wrote, lectured, lobbied, picketed and practiced other forms of civil disobedience until the 19th Amendment was ratified on Aug 18 1920 guaranteeing all American women the right to vote.

Women in the Canton of Appenzell in Switzerland had to wait until 1990 to be allowed to vote, after the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland forced the change.