Protect Ihumātao: National Day of Action – Wellington!

Individuals and groups stood in solidarity with the Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) Campaign outside Fletcher offices in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, and Hamilton on Friday 15 February to stop an unwanted housing development on 33 hectares of rare landscape at Ihumātao, near Auckland International Airport.

This land is part of a rare cultural heritage landscape and is adjacent to the Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve. It was unjustly confiscated in 1863 and given to settlers who farmed it until their descendants sold it for around $20m to Fletcher Building Limited in
2016. Fletcher wants to build 480 houses.

SOUL are currently occupying land at Ihumātao to halt Fletchers plans to start construction. SOUL have called for collective action and support in an effort to stop a confrontation on the land. ‘We invite anyone who wants to stand against colonisation and racism to join us at Fletchers on Friday the 15th. If you can’t make it to a protest, we invite you to call or email Fletchers and let them know how you feel.’’

Here in Wellington we heard the call to action and started a new group SOUL Solidarity Pōneke. We stand in solidarity with mana whenua in Tāmaki Makaurau who are standing up against development on their illegally confiscated ancestral lands.

On the 15th of February we took action targeting Fletcher’s Construction who bought the land at Ihumātao and are planning to start construction soon. As Fletcher’s seem to be having trouble knowing what being a good treaty partner looks like, we held them a FREE Tiriti o Waitangi workshop at their premises in Churton Park! Together, we learnt more about Te Tiriti, sung waiata and shared kai.

For more information:
https://www.protectihumatao.com/

 

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Protect Ihumātao – National Day of Action

Save Our Unique Landscapes (SOUL) have ramped up their campaign to protect Ihumātao and it’s moving fast!

SOUL are planning a National Day of Action against Fletchers – FRIDAY 15th FEBRUARY. People across the country will be taking action to #ProtectIhumātao.

Want to get involved? You can participate in the phone blockade from anywhere in the world, or join people at a protest near you.

Tāmaki-makaurau – Auckland

SOUL Campaign
SOUL meet every Thursday at 6.30pm in Tāmaki.
Email to get involved or you can donate to their givealittle!

Kirikiriroa – Hamilton
Contact to come.

Ōtautahi – Christchurch
Email to get involved.

Ōtepoti – Dunedin

Environmental Justice Ōtepoti
Email at environmentaljusticeotepoti@gmail.com
FEB 7 – SOUL Solidarity Ōtepoti -Sign Making +Action Planning

Te Whanganui-a-Tara – Wellington

Peace Action Wellington (that’s us!)

Protect Ihumātao: National Day of Action – Wellington

Friday, 15 February 09:30-12:00
Fletcher Construction
236 Middleton Rd, Churton Park

Email us peacewellington@riseup.net 

  •  Māori caucus – engaging with Māori in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, making sure tikanga are upheld in actions and mana whenua is respected. Email kassie@actionstation.org.nz you want to get involved.
  • Tauiwi caucus – engaging with non-Māori, non-Pākehā communities on this issue. Email peacewellington@riseup.net if you want to get involved.
  • Action planning – planning actions in solidarity with the SOUL campaign. Email peacewellington@riseup.net if you want to get involved.
  • Awareness raising – painting banners, making leaflets, zines, badges and other creative stuffs.
  • Petition – getting dem signatures (sign it here if you haven’t yet!). Email peacewellington@riseup.net if you want to get involved.
  • National Network & media – coordinating with people outside of Wellington who want to get involved. Coordinating with the SOUL campaign around media, writing press releases etc. Email peacewellington@riseup.net if you want to get involved.
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Protect Ihumātao


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This weekend Peace Action went along to Ōtaki Summer Camp and saw Pania Newton speak about the SOUL campaign to protect Ihumātao. So many young people got fired up that they set up the SOUL Solidarity Network!

Ihumātao was confiscated in 1863 to punish tangata whenua for supporting the Kīngitanga movement. Pākehā law and processes have been used to entrench this theft. This is an opportunity to recognise the wrongs of our past and present of ongoing colonisation. We’re going to demand that the Government intervene and return Ihumātao to mana whenua.

Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington

Come along to the Newtown Community Centre at 6pm on Tuesday, January 29 if you want to organise SOUL solidarity actions in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington! We’ll bring tea, coffee, pizza and facilitation, you bring the energy!

To help us do this important mahi, Peace Action will bring the following proposals:

  • Organising group structure
  • Decision-making process

 

Subscribe to the SOUL Solidarity mailing list by emailing peacewellington@riseup.net

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The Weapons Expo 2018 – Palmy is a Peace City!

This year the Weapons Expo shifted to Palmerston North on the 31st of October after successful protests in Auckland and Wellington in 2016 and 2017. Auckland Peace Action have written a nice summary of events here so here is some pictures from the two days.

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New warplanes won’t feed my daughters

Jessie Moss is sick and tired of organising school bake sales. Parents like her are familiar with an endless cycle of fundraising so their kids can go on school trips – so she was gutted when the government announced a $2.3 billion spend on six new planes with submarine-bombing capabilities.

jessie

Jessie and daughters

“It’s just idiocy,” sighs Jessie. “We’re told time and time again when the teachers and nurses are out marching for better pay, that the money isn’t there – but when we need new warplanes, the magic money tree appears.”

While many people resent this unfairness, Jessie is speaking out. And it’s no surprise, as the charismatic teacher, musician, and mother of two comes from a long line of people who have used their talents to campaign for peace in Aotearoa. Her grandmother is Elsie Locke, one of New Zealand’s most famous peace activists. Other famous relatives include former Green MP Keith Locke and Maire Leadbeater.

As you might expect, Jessie has a wealth of inspiring anecdotes about her relatives and their activist careers. She tells an anecdote about Elsie and a pregnant friend delivering an anti-nuclear petition to Parliament. On presenting it, an overbearing official tried to shame them, saying that they had no business doing such things, especially ‘in that state’ – a charming reference to the pregnancy.

“Her friend’s response was ‘That’s exactly why I’m doing it,’” says Jessie.

“Of course, she’s pregnant – why wouldn’t she care about the state of the world for future generations?”

As a mother herself, Jessie thinks parents have an important part to play in raising thoughtful children who can analyse information intelligently. And – no guns.

“Children form their ideas about the world through play. I think it’s fine to say to four-year-olds, ‘Guns kill people, and that’s why I don’t want you to play with them.’ Or else how will they know?”

Growing up in Wellington, Jessie’s children haven’t experienced the horrors of war. But some of the children she teaches haven’t been so lucky. “I teach scores of Syrian kids in my class who are still traumatised from war. I can’t even begin to imagine what my students and their families have seen. It’s really hard to educate traumatised children, and yet we’re still sending that money off into systems that bomb their families who are still in Syria.”

“People are led to believe that war is necessary, war is inevitable. But actually this is a money-making business – it’s not about protecting borders. It’s an arms trade and at the end of that system, people are being killed.”

Jessie’s family can boast three generations of people who have used their voices to speak out against war. Yet the outspoken family has drawn unwelcome attention, and many members were spied on by private companies and the government. Some relatives were surveilled from the age of ten.

“It’s so creepy,” says Jessie. “They started to be included in their parents’ files at that age – because they were distributing pamphlets! My uncle (Keith Locke) was spied on for 40 or 50 years. The hilarious thing about it – you’ve got to have a slightly humorous take on it – is that it’s a massive wealth of autobiographical Information. It’s a good memory jogger!”

Does she think she was spied on herself? “Yeah. I asked the SIS and they said they could ‘neither confirm nor deny’, which means yes, usually.”

If Jessie seems to take it all in her stride, it’s a testament to having grown up around staunch family members who refused to be intimidated. “It shows just how afraid these big companies are of activists, their defensiveness around their grotty business dealings, and the lengths they go to protect that stuff – it’s disturbing.”

She’s following in her family’s footsteps with her own creative twist, using her role as a folk singer to discuss peace and workers’ rights. “if you’ve got such a platform, you’ve got an obligation to use it wisely – and I’m definitely not one for benign, boring lyrics,” she laughs.

She’s not exaggerating. Her group The Wooden box band combine simple, charming folk melodies with powerful, poetic lyrics that explore war, power and the power of collective action. Her favourite anti-war song? Joe Hill, about a unionist who was killed because of his activism. It speaks to the power of collective action, about a movement that’s bigger than its figurehead: I dreamed I saw, Joe Hill last night / Alive as you and me / Says I “But Joe, you’re ten years dead” / “I never died” says he.

“It’s so important that people recognise they’re part of something bigger,” says Jessie. “I think the societies that we live in cause people to be disconnected. People aren’t looking at the world, seeing the connections between things, and questioning systems.”

Having experienced the darker side of such systems, both through the harmed children she works so hard to educate and through the experiences of her family, she believes more passionately than ever that it’s vital to take a stand against injustice. She’s calling on people to protest the annual New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) Weapons Expo, held this year in Palmerston North on Halloween. “If you don’t want people to be killed, you need to stand up and stop the arms trade. Because people are making huge profits off the deaths of innocent people.”

Elsie_Locke

Elsie Locke

“My nana (Elsie) would always say, ‘You see something that needs doing, you do it.’ It’s so important to draw attention to the Expo, because people don’t know that it’s happening on our doorstep. It’s something that you can directly affect, you can go down and have a presence at and make a noise.”

But what effect can small players like New Zealand hope to have on shutting down the global arms trade? “A few people can achieve a lot! If a small group of people getting petition signatures can push the government into going nuclear free, the same thing can be true for stopping the Weapons Expo. And the more countries that pull out of the arms trade cycle, the fewer weapons there are in circulation.”

“New Zealanders think of ourselves as pioneers,” she reflects. “Pioneers for suffrage, pioneers to go nuclear-free. New Zealand has done these things before, and has had a global influence – it’s a part of our legacy. These achievements were hard fought for – and hard won.” Elsie would be proud.

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Stop the Weapons Expo 2018!

Only a week to go till this year’s scariest Halloween event, the WEAPONS EXPO! Walking death merchants will be allowed to wander freely in Palmerston North unless we stop them!

Peaceful actions and disruptions will be going on over the days of the 31st October and 1st November, so please join for as long as you can! On 31 October you can join the Peace March – Stop the Weapons Expo at 11.30am starting at the Square the march will then head to the Central Energy Trust Arena where the Weapons Expo is being held. Check out Peace Action Manawatū for a taste of some of the events that are going on.

halloween

Accommodation: If you are coming from out of town and need accommodation please register with Peace Action Manawatū. If you don’t want to use your name a pseudonym or nickname is fine. They just need numbers. https://goo.gl/forms/miG1n0BY6p2DVqb82

Transport: If you want help getting to Palmy, please email us when you plan to be there and return. We’ll try to find you a car share or look at other options. If you are planning to drive to Palmerston North for the protest and you have space in your car, please email us and let us know when you are traveling there and back, and how many spaces you have to offer.

Help from afar: If you can’t make it to Palmy you can still help out by sharing whats happening in the lead up and on the days of protest and use the hashtags #WarStartsHere #WeCanStopItHere #StopTheWEXPO2018

Why you should come and protest the Weapons Expo

Here is some inspiration from MP Golriz Ghahraman, who spoke at our public meeting last week about the human cost of the arms trade, her own experience as a refugee and why we should all stand up to those who want to profit from war.

Also check out this Spinoff article by Valerie Morse: “We can’t stand by while an event is hosted where Lockheed Martin is celebrated instead of condemned for its crimes against children in Yemen, and where New Zealand companies are supported to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and other repressive regimes. With all that in mind, why not book in a little Halloween trip to Palmerston North this year and join the peace action happening there?”


ALSO COMING UP!

Free film screening: Tātarakihi – The Children of Parihaka

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Join Peace Action and Te Tiriti Collective for a screening of this film, which explores the history of Parihaka’s non-violent resistance to the Crown, and the violence it was met with from the colonisers. The 2009 film follows a group of tamariki descended from Parihaka setting off on a journey to learn about their ancestors.

Tātarakihi will be screening in Wellington on November 3rd. 630pm, Wellington Central Baptist, 46-48 Boulcott Stwww.facebook.com/events/474206979726921/

More info here > peacewellington.org/parihaka

5th November: Parihaka Day
Expect to see these posters out in the streets.

100 posters will be available for pick-up from Stillwaters Community House at 327 Willis Street, Pōneke Wellington, from Mon 15 Oct. If you wish to reserve one please email/text Bronwyn on 022 076 8871.

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The People v NZDF: Picket Against International War Crimes!

PROTEST TOMORROW, Wednesday 17th, 4.30-5.30pm at the NZDF offices (William Colenso Square on Molesworth Street). Join us, Berrigan House, Organise Aotearoa and the Hit & Run Inquiry Campaign to protest revelations of war crimes covered up by the NZDF.

nzdf

Nicky Hager’s new report has exposed horrific acts of violence upon civilians in Afghanistan that have been covered up by the New Zealand Defense Force. This includes a medic, who committed war crimes by killing two children in Afghanistan, receiving a bravery medal for his actions. He also reports whistleblowers revealing a wide culture of sexual abuse and homophobia among NZDF personnel. You can read the full story on PressReader here if you have a Wellington Public Library account.

NZ troops have been in Afghanistan for 17 years now – for what? Each year we hear about more war crimes and more deaths of children and civilians at the hands of NZ troops. The military has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars manufacturing a slick public image of a noble, brave and honest force, but the reality beneath that image is violence and a contempt for the law.

On Wednesday 17th, 4.30pm, we will mobilise a People’s Court outside the NZDF’s head offices in Wellington to bring charges against the NZDF for its international war crimes against civilians, its attempts to cover them up, and its culture of sexual abuse and homophobia.

New NZDF honest marketing spotted in Wellington: We want you to cover shit up

In the light of the revelations about war crimes and sexual assault all covered up by the NZDF, it seems they are trying an honest approach to marketing NZDF careers. These were spotted near the NZDF offices and on the Terrace today!

Coming up:

3rd November:

Tātarakihi, The Children of Parihaka film screening (venue tbc)
Join Peace Action and Te Tiriti Collective on November 3rd for a screening of this film, which explores the history of Parihaka’s non-violent resistance to the Crown, and the violence it was met with from the colonisers. The 2009 film follows a group of tamariki descended from Parihaka setting off on a journey to learn about their ancestors.

5th November: Parihaka Day
Expect to see these posters out in the streets.

100 posters will be available for pick-up from Stillwaters Community House at 327 Willis Street, Pōneke Wellington, from Mon 15 Oct. If you wish to reserve one please email/text Bronwyn on 022 076 8871.

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