2016 has been a busy year for Peace Action Wellington. Thanks to everyone who has joined in and supported us in the past twelve months. Here are some highlights.
In April we planted edible plants in public spaces to honour the lives of millions of Syrian women enduring siege, war, exile, dispossession and imprisonment, as well as those who have passed away.
Then we were delighted to discover that concerned citizens had returned the old Nuclear Free Wellington sign to its rightful place.
Later that month we sailed a cardboard boat into the Ministry of Defence to highlight the government’s invitation of US warships with potential nuclear armaments onboard to Aotearoa’s shores, as well as speaking out against military spending. Over zealous police arrested one protestor at the peaceful protest that lasted mere minutes inside.
On ANZAC day 2016, two sculptures of conscientious objectors in the ‘field punishment number one’ position were placed around Wellington to remember those who opposed the war and challenge the on-going romanticisation of war and the militarisation of this day. One of these can currently be viewed in the new Ngā Heke exhibiton at Wellington Museum.
Then on Sunday 22 May we placed lifejackets on statues around Wellington to remember those who have lost their lives while seeking asylum and those who still struggle for it.
At the start of June the government announced it would spend $20 Billion on upgrading the NZDF despite stating in the Defence White Paper that “New Zealanders can remain confident that the country does not face a direct military threat in the foreseeable future.” We created a better white paper to highlight alternatives the money could be spent on.
In June and then again in August we organised protests outside the Australian High Commission to condemn Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and New Zealand’s deafening silence on this topic.
In August we also spotted a series of full sized drone outlines in Wellington taking the discussion of the weapons industry to the streets.
In September we went and visited the office of MAS Zengrange, a Lower Hutt company that makes mortar-firing systems and other war products. They weren’t pleased to see us. Five activists were arrested after they left the building.
October was a super busy month where we had a campaign launch party, a rally against the war industry, an art exhibition/fundraiser gig to raise awareness and replenish the coffers and finally a picnic to disrupt the Navy’s Trafalgar Luncheon.
In November we supported Auckland Peace Action’s protests against the annual Weapons Conference and Navy celebrations. Some of us took part in Auckland whilst others delivered a message to the Wellington City Council asking them not to host the conference in a council venue again.
The year began with court appearances for those arrested at last year’s Weapons Conference protests and various dates continued throughout the year with the trial date finally being set for 13 February 2017. December thus was taken up by fundraising for the legal costs. Thanks to everyone who has donated and spread the word.
You can still donate here www.tinyurl.com/PAWPLedgeMe
See you in 2017!