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The 16 Of Waikeria Have Surrendered

At approximately midday today, the 16 of Waikeria surrendered, escorted out by Rawiri Waititi, MP for Waiariki and Co-Leader of the Māori Party.

“As previously expressed, I have had constant contact with the whānau involved in this protest and they were adamant that they would only surrender with me present to ensure that no injury occurred to any officers or protesters”

“I arrived at Waikeria at 9.30am after travelling through the night at the request of the 16”

“I want to take this opportunity to mihi to the boys, first and foremost for standing up to fight for their rights and secondly for making the right decision to surrender”

“They were ready to come down. Naturally, they were tired and hungry but still very determined to see change”

“They have achieved what they set out to do when they embarked on bringing attention to their maltreatment in Prison”

“When injustice is normalised, defiance and protest is necessary. These men are the product of such injustices and through their protest they have changed the face Corrections forever”

“Whilst people that do crime must serve their time, they must also be treated in a just and humane way”

“Even prison guards acknowledged to us that the state of the unit was unacceptable.”

“These men are not animals, they are humans; they are brothers, father’s and sons and are deserving of better treatment.”

“If you treat a person like a dog, they will act like one and that is the saddest part of this whole saga; a failed criminal justice system adopted from a land 19000 kilometres away.”

“It was wrong 250 years ago and it is wrong today.”

“Finally, I would like to acknowledge all of the authorities involved in this operation; for allowing me to be involved in the surrender of our boys and for managing a peaceful outcome in what has been a very trying time for all”

“Allowing me to go in proves that when we drop the red tape, treat our people with dignity and allow for us as Māori to deal with our own in a Māori way, we succeed”

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