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Tuhoe Anger Loud And Clear Over Police Raids

Tuhoe Anger Loud And Clear Over Police Raids And Terror Laws
Story And Images By Spike Mountjoy

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Maori Labour MP’s were shouted down as they tried to address a Hikoi of more than 800 Tuhoe iwi, activists, and supporters outside parliament yesterday.

Many were there to demonstrate their opposition to October’s police raids, and recent changes to New Zealand terror legislation.

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Members of the hikoi - which left Ruatoki on Monday - drowned out speeches by Nanaia Mahuta and Parekura Horomia, with cries of “Kupapa”, which translates to traitor, or Maori soldier fighting for the government.

Some members of the crowd questioned loudly why Mahuta and Horomia had not stood up against the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Act during its 3rd and final reading on Tuesday.

Taito Phillip Field, who voted against the amendment, was applauded, as were Keith Locke and members of the Maori Party.

But the majority of yesterday’s speeches focused on police behavior during the October arrests.

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Peti Nohotima, a grandmother originally from Ruatoki who had traveled from Palmerston North, said she was there because of the violation against her friends and family during the raids.

“I’m here to say to Helen Clark ‘how would you like it if we held a gun to your head’.

“You come to the Marae and talk to us Kanohi ki te Kanohi – eye to eye.”

Later as the protestors marched up Molesworth Street they chanted “Helen is a racist coward”.

One of those arrested in the raids, Wellingtonian Valerie Morse, arrived with about 25 activists from 128 Able Smith Street, a house searched in the October raids.

Morse said she was there to support Tuhoe and the people of Ruatoki.

“There is a deep seated fear within the police and intelligence services of Maori, and the potential for Maori political action – there is a real cultural divide, a culture of racism that’s institutionalised.”

Yesterday also saw the Dominion Post publish police prosecution evidence consisting of intercepted conversations recorded in the lead-up to the arrests.

Although that evidence can no longer be used in court since Terrorism Suppression Act charges are not being laid, the paper could face contempt of court prosecution over its decision.

Morse, who has photo suppression, said she is angry about the publication.

“I think it’s a ridiculous assertion that they [the Dominion Post] are allowing the public to ‘draw their own conclusions’, it is completely and utterly one sided and out of context.”

“The Solicitor General looked at all the evidence and said it was insufficient – it’s totally ludicrous.”

Morse said several others arrested in the raids were at the protest, and they had to be careful to keep separated from one another so as not to breech their bail conditions which prohibit them from associating with one another.

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For most of the day police kept a low profile, with often only 20 or so visible, mostly without batons or handcuffs.

No-one was arrested in what appeared a consciously reserved approach by the police.

But police with batons stood four-deep outside their national headquarters on Molesworth Street – where Police Commissioner Howard Broad has his office.

This final stop on the march provided an opportunity for the protestors to express their displeasure with the police directly.

They chanted, “Who are the terrorist? Pirimana [the police]!”, and members of the crowd called for Commissioner Broad’s resignation.

Tuhoe elder Te Weeti Tihi told the crowd that, “the police will be your friends today and arrest you tomorrow.

“We will be telling our children, and our children’s children, to never forget what they have done to Tuhoe.”

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