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National icon… or looking at the lockup?

National icon… or looking at the lockup?

Fellow Maori rights campaigner Mike Smith has described Tame Iti as a national icon.

Discussing New Zealand’s sedition laws on TV ONE’s Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson (Saturday June 17 9.30am), Smith said:

“Tame Iti should have been charged with sedition the day he was born. He’s been a consistent advocate for Mana Maori Motuhake his whole life. He’s to be congratulated. He’s a national icon, he’s a national hero.”

However Smith – known for his controversial One Tree Hill protest in the 1990s - did distance himself from Iti’s use of a firearm at the opening of the Waitangi Tribunal hearings of the Tuhoe claim, saying: “I’m not a great fan of firearms, chainsaws are more my sort of forte.”

John Tamihere, on the other hand, said on the programme that he believed Iti should be “looking at the lockup, mate.”

Stephen Franks, a lawyer and former Act MP, does not believe that a Maori activist will ever be charged with sedition: “they’d be too scared to do it.”

Also on the panel were Green MP Keith Locke, and Tame Iti himself.
Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson screened Saturday morning at 9.30 on TV One.


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