Ngawha Hui Support Called For
Ngawha - Noho Rangimarie co-chairmen Thomas Dalton and Frank Brown are calling supporters of the noho to a hui there on May 31.
Not one drop of concrete has yet been laid, some 14 months since earthworks began. Construction contractor Mainzeal are however preparing to begin work on the site, "before winter". The earthworks are still underway, continually delayed by unprecedented rainfall in the area. Truckloads of fill are still being transported on to the site.
The Corrections Dept has attempted to get the Far North District Council involved in the dispute by way of complaining about breaches to health and safety bylaws, to no avail. All kaitiaki are fit and well, with sanitation of the highest standard.
Supporters continue to visit the noho, including kura and kohanga roopu. Thomas says the aim of the noho is to keep tangata whenua opposition visible, and to keep the door open for manuhiri to visit the site to learn about Ngawha, and about the wider context of increasing rates of imprisonment in Aotearoa, second only to the USA.
He said all supporters are allowed access to the noho, and should cite the current agreement if Corrections staff try to refuse entry.
The current agreement allows kaitiaki to occupy the site for two years. It is thought that the department will try other means to remove the whare and kitchen however, possibly by the end of May. Their latest idea is that the land is needed for a planting programme. A reasonable turnout on the 31st would go some way to helping the department realise the depth of feeling any impending unilateral eviction could arouse.
Several kaitiaki are due to be processed at the Kaikohe District Court on May 28. Many are banned from 100 metres either side of the site as a result of previous convictions.
There will be a Ngawha feature in the next issue of NZ Photography, featuring the work of three of the occupiers.
Those at the noho have instigated a new bank account for occupation expenses, with the Dove account having been closed by the former signatories. The new account is Westpac, 03 0334 020032825 50. Donations are welcome and will be receipted on request. Tee-shirts and badges are also still available (contact Kataraina 021 0351799 or Karyn 025 417209).
A hangi is planned for the 31st, which will be Day 173 of the occupation. Large groups should contact the chairmen in advance.
Those at the noho wish to convey their empathy and commiserations to the tangata whenua of Meremere, the next site.