Support Activists Facing Court

This month we are doing a big fundraising push for the legal costs of the upcoming court case of people arrested at the 2015 Weapons Conference protest. Any support you can give is greatly appreciated.

We have set up a Pledge Me campaign with rewards that you can donate directly to www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/4950

We are also having a movie fundraiser at 6pm on December 19 at Lighthouse Cuba cinema. Tickets are $20 each and will include a small treat bag. You can book tickets by emailing peacewellington@riseup.net and find more info on the facebook event.

What Happened Again?

In November 2015 hundreds of people protested against the Weapons Conference at a blockade organised by Peace Action Wellington. It was a peaceful, fun two days through which we aimed to stop and disrupt arms dealers from profiting from war. The police arrested 27 people over the two days – some in the non-violent blockade on public property (outside the Wellington City Council owned TSB Arena), some for asking why their friends were being arrested and others for just being there!

The police said we would just be in the cells for a few hours and would be released without charge. However, they did charge us and 16 of us are still being taken to court.

These court proceedings have been dragged out for over a year but the 16 of us, who are facing minor charges of obstruction and trespass, will now be taken to trial in February 2017. This will be a week long trial, held by the Crown rather than police prosecutor and with more than 30 witnesses being called by the police. All for standing up against the weapons trade.

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Who Are We?

We are students, teachers, lawyers, filmmakers, office workers, labourers, engineers, mums and dads. We choose to stand up for something we believe in and exercise our right to protest. We believe in community action as a way to create positive change in our communities. Being dragged through a lengthy court case as a result has been a long, exhausting, difficult and expensive struggle.

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What will the money be used for?

The funds raised will go towards legal costs which include: a contribution for our lawyers – who receive no legal aid funding for this work – and for costs incurred during court (eg. travel, food, and a hardship fund given the defendants will not be able work that week).

More background on the case that will be continuously updated can be found here: https://peaceactionwellington.wordpress.com/not-guilty-court-updates/

And a round up of the two day of protests can be found here: https://peaceactionwellington.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/blockade-timeline/

Thank you for your support. Please share our Pledge Me campaign far and wide.

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Week of Peace: No Weapons Expo! No Warships! Part 2

Part two of our wrap up of Auckland Peace Action’s Week of Peace (did you miss Part one?). On the second day of the Weapons Expo, a noise demo was organised to coincide with the awards ceremony and gala dinner. People were encouraged to come along with noisemakers, instruments, banners and placards – to help drown out the weapons dealers’ party happening inside.

The Wall of Noise began with industrial noise screaming through the sound system accompanied with whatever racket people could make.

Happening now! #peaceaction

A video posted by @kawowski on

Police called in noise control to shut down the sound system and confiscate another but by then the cacophony was so great it was barely noticeable when they were gone.

The wall of noise continued for three hours until 9pm when everyone had thoroughly thrashed their instruments.

It was a cathartic experience for many and a powerful way to come together and express our sentiment for the global arms trade.

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On Friday a planned Navy celebration event, the 1000 soldier international street march was cancelled. The Navy said it was out of respect for earthquake victims but seeing as half the warships had swanned off to Kaikoura to prance about there together the other half seemed to have cold feet in front of some opposition.

The Peace Flotilla was organised to coincide with the Naval Review moved its date on to the Saturday as the Navy switched dates earlier in the week.

The peace flotilla set sail in Waitemata harbour to surround the navy boats in the “naval review” with support from people on land.

The Pacific Panther Network were out on the water protecting te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.

Pinochet’s torture ship was in Auckland’s harbour.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/29/pinochet-torture-chile-ship

The Peace Flotilla was another strong stand against the war machine and glorification of war from many different groups.

One of the warships parading around Auckland was an Indonesian naval ship. Indonesia illegally holds West Papua under brutal military occupation and aids Australia in denying asylum seekers the right to seek asylum.

The final day of the Week of Peace was truly a bonanza of events with the Grannies4Peace holding a tea party that same afternoon.

And then to wrap it all up an alternative prayer service outside Holy Trinity Cathedral where a naval glorification service was being held inside.

Wow! What a Week of Peace! It was so wonderful to see so many different groups get involved and make it happen. Full credit to Auckland Peace Action for awesome organising. We will take inspiration from your words and actions if the arms dealers come back to Wellington. See you next year!

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Week of Peace: No Weapons Expo! No Warships! Part 1

Auckland Peace Action organised a Week of Peace over 13-20 November 2016 in response to the NZDIA moving it’s annual weapons conference to Auckland to coincide with the NZ Navy events including a flotilla of warships. Here’s the first part of two wrapping up the events.

The call to action was made loud and clear.

Inspiration came from many places including a public speaking event on Tuesday from anti-nuclear activist Dr Helen Caldicott on ending the global arms trade.

A few days earlier workshops on non violent direct action had been held to prepare people for the action.

Thus on Wednesday morning people gathered at 8am in Silo Park ready to blockade the first day of the weapons conference.

Protestors began to block off entrances to the building.

The police violently pushed back at protestors who approached another access point.

Then momentum swiftly turned to the side of the protestors when the fence was pulled down allowing direct access to the building entrances.

Arms dealers who got inside early could only watch as the majority of their colleagues were blocked from attending the conference they paid a tidy sum to attend.

People swiftly moved in to block the entrances directly.

The fences have been torn down. The clowns are in control now #WarStartsHere #blockadetheweaponsconference

A photo posted by Hana Tuwhare (@hana.purzelbaum) on

Ka whawhai tonu mātou. Ake! Ake! Ake!

👮🏻👮🏼👮🏻👮🏼‍♀️👮🏻 Pre-work #warstartshere #warstopshere

A photo posted by Julie Zhu (@juliezhuu) on

The blockade became an epic human chain preventing any arms dealers from entering the building.

Despite continuing threats from police to bring out peeper spray and tasers protestors remained steadfast.

Though some scuffles still broke out when individual arms dealers tried to enter the building desperate to make a killing. The low point of this was when police knocked over some small children when trying to aid an arms dealer.

None the less the blockade continued, the strength of which must in part be put down to the many different groups who answered the call to action and brought their own special magic along.

The hours stretched on as no one was able to enter. One arms dealer waiting nearby in a cafe was overheard to say he spent a total of $15,000 on attending the conference, another had come all the way from New York.

The blockade ended when the Venga Boys ‘Boom, Boom, Boom’ played through the sound system and all the tiredness of an eight hour protest suddenly washed away as a dance celebration spontaneously began. The police continued to block off the building watching on unsmiling.

Media reported that at least 350 attendees were blocked access to the conference. The blockade was a resounding success with many other actions planned in the days to come.

The next day kicked off with Karanga Tangaroa organised by the Pacific Panthers.

An action responding to the Naval Defence use of ‘Tangaroa’ in their operations title ‘Mahi Tangaroa’.

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Photos by Julie Zhu http://www.facebook.com/JulieZhuPhotography/

Police Intimidation at Sacred Ceremony

Karanga Tangaroa was a powerful and beautiful display of culture and traditional prayer. It affirmed our role as indigenous peoples in the Pacific to respect and to protect our ocean and each other against militarism.

We started with karakia, and then followed with wahine of the Pacific facing the Waitemata harbour and performing karanga to Tangaroa.

Tāwhirimātea and Ranginui sent a heavy rain shower in support of the wahine who stood at the water’s edge, conducting sacred rituals of karakia and karanga.

The rain eased once the tapu (sacred) proceedings had finished, the sun burst through the clouds and a speaking circle commenced sharing korero about the kaupapa of the day.

It was described by many who attended as a profoundly moving and sacred event.

The proceedings of the day ended by enjoying a shared bbq lunch.

Despite the success of the day, many were traumatised by the heavy handed tactics of the policing especially considering the nature of the event.

Tina Ngata felt that “the actions of the police were indisputably intended to bully and intimidate us. They employed paramilitary tactics against a peaceful, sacred gathering of indigenous women. This is an abuse of our human rights to gather and pray, a clear example of the racist nature of policing against Maori in New Zealand.”

The Pacific Panther Network wants to know why was a police helicopter hovering over and intimidating and defiling the sacred ceremony at karanga Tangaroa ?

Why were a substantial number of police present armed with long batons and a paddy wagon at a family friendly event ?

A police photographer was also present. A senior police officer who when questioned as to why the police were present in such force disclosed that “the police were present as part of an official police operation”.

He refused to disclose any more details about this police operation when questioned further.

Marama Davison who performed karanga with other wahine on the day adds : “There was no need for such an overdone amount of police at such a peaceful event. Around the world state forces are being used as intimidation tactics and that actually goes against international human rights law”.

The Pacific Panthers will be pursuing a formal complaint about heavy handed policing directed at a peaceful cultural ceremony.

Continue on reading about the Week of Peace in part two of our wrap up.

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Upcoming Events in November

Oppose the war industry: Tell the Wellington City Council to never host the Weapons Expo again

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In solidarity with the protests in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, against the Weapons Expo and the Navy’s celebration of 75 years of war we’re going to keep up the pressure with a demonstration here in te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington.

On Wednesday the 16th Nov, 12pm we’re meeting at the Aotearoa International Festival of Arts & Resistance at Thistle Hall, and at 12:30pm marching down Cuba Street to the Wellington City Council to deliver a letter and strong message to the council to never host the Weapons Expo in their venues again.

On Thursday the 17th Nov,please join us in crafting peace at Aotearoa International Festival of Arts & Resistance at Thistle Hall – making peace wreaths & peace symbols to scatter around the city. 11am onwards.

Let’s make it loud and clear that arms dealers and war profiteers are not welcome in Aotearoa. Follow the Facebook event for more details.

What’s happening in Auckland?

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This year the Weapons Expo is being held in Auckland to coincide with the Navy’s celebrations of 75 years of war, with warships from around the world coming to Auckland harbour.

For the first time in 32 years a US warship is coming to Aotearoa. The naval training exercises in the Hauraki gulf clearly display the preparation of New Zealand navy for more wars, and the US warship is just another step along the path of closer military ties with the USA and USA-led wars.

These two events clearly link the business end of the war industry with the killing people side of it, showing the deadly power of war as a business opportunity.

Auckland Peace Action has organised a “Week of Peace” to counter the money and blood fuelled Weapons Expo. This includes a blockade of the weapons expo and a peace flotilla.Some members of Peace Action Wellington are going to Auckland but others are staying to organise actions down here.

For more information about Auckland Peace Action go to www.aucklandpeaceaction.wordpress.com

Continuing the campaign against arms company Mas Zengrange in Lower Hutt

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November 22nd: We’ll be holding a stall near Lower Hutt Pak’n’Save to highlight the presence of an arms company in the neighbourhood and then moving to MAS Zengrange on Downer Street to let them know they’re not welcome.

More details to come on the event page here. Check out the video of our last Mas Zengrange action if you haven’t seen it already.

The Peace Foundation hosts Dr Helen Caldicott. ‘An End to Armed Conflict: New Zealand’s Unique Challenge’

Click here for more details.

Did you miss the FIFTH EYE the first time around?

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Don’t worry! It’s back for a limited run at the Paramount Cinema, Wellington from Thursday 10th November. Head to the Paramount website for times and tickets. This film got 5* from Peace Action Wellington viewers at the film festival and is a highly recommended doco about the activist mission to disarm the Waihopai spy base and an expose of NZ’s involvement in global war and surveillance.

Aotearoa International Festival of Arts and Resistance

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‘A new biennial event with a kaupapa of counteracting racism, plutocracy and capitalism by means of conscious music, poetry, art, speech, film/video and protest action is coming to the capital city.‘ Our Wellington actions protesting the Weapons Expo will be integrated into the event – check out more here.
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Remember Parihaka

parihaka_poster_a35th November was Parihaka Day.

Posters remembering the peace community and the racist discrimination they faced appeared around Wellington – this one is at Pukeahu the War Memorial Park.

For more info see parihaka.maori.nz

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Stop the Warships and Weapons Expo

This year’s Weapons Expo has been shifted to Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, to coincide with the Navy’s celebration of 75 years of war. You can check out all the events organised by Auckland Peace Action here.

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But we’re gonna keep up the pressure with a demo here in te Whanganui-a-Tara, in solidarity with the protest in Auckland and to make sure it never comes back.

Some images from last years weapons conference protest.

Arms dealers and war profiteers are not welcome in Aotearoa.

Watch this space for more details!

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Navy secretly move function, send police to monitor peaceful protest

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Sunday’s Trafalgar Luncheon, part of the Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations, was moved from its planned location in the Wellington Cadet Centre without any public notification. Despite this, a peace picnic outside the empty venue was closely monitored by two police officers.

Peace Action Wellington had planned a noisy picnic to protest the Navy’s luncheon; “War is not a cause for celebration” Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Ally Davis said. “The navy seem to have been intimdated by our peace picnic outside the Wellington Cadet Centre. The fact that they sent two police officers to monitor us having a nice time outside an empty venue is concerning. I don’t know how political parties can justify calling for extra cops when they’ve clearly been wasting their time & taxpayers money today.”

The Navy luncheon is one of a string of publicity events that the RNZN is holding throughout 2016, sponsored by companies that supply armaments and equipment to the Navy, and to the navies, armies and air forces of the world.

The anniversary includes an international flotilla of warships to visit Auckland and conduct naval exercises in November, including the first U.S warship to visit a New Zealand port for 32 years, since the country’s anti-nuclear legislation was passed.

Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest arms manufacturers (including the manufacture of nuclear weapons systems), is helping to sponsor these events. Lockheed Martin was paid $446 million by the New Zealand taxpayer last year to upgrade the systems on our naval vessels. and is implicated in arms sales to countries with poor human rights records, like Saudi Arabia – currently using its weapons to kill innocent civilians in Yemen.

Babcock, another sponsor, helps to maintain the N.Z. Navy fleet, but also manages nuclear submarine bases in the U.K, while Beca, sells software systems to both the New Zealand navy and to countries that use their military forces against their own people, like Myanmar and Indonesia.

“No one should profit from war,” Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Ally Davis said, “But the companies who are profiting from our Navy and sponsoring these events, are implicated in the very things that we expect New Zealand as a country to be standing up against.”

The Trafalgar luncheon, attended by Navy personnel and cadets, marks the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October) fought in 1805, when Lord Nelson’s victory over the French and the Spanish confirmed British naval supremacy. The war predates New Zealand’s colonisation and the land confiscation wars with help from the same British navy. The Trafalgar Luncheon presumably went ahead at another Wellington venue.

The 75th Anniversary marks the ‘birth’ of the ‘Royal New Zealand Navy’ in 1941, but RNZ Navy remained heavily influenced by British command for many decades.

Peace Action Wellington will be staging a series of protests leading up to the Navy exposition in Auckland in November.

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