Tame Iti and the Mana Motuhake of Tuhoe

A quiet road outside Hamilton, the Hukanui Marae car park is full of journalists. Hone Harawira, David Clendon, I and a few others are welcomed on by Ngāti Wairere. This is Tame Iti’s mother’s marae so on the first day of freedom he comes here to start his journey home. Tame is in the wharekai with his sons, mokopuna, sister and other whanau and his lawyer. He is looking great, very calm and tranquil but there is something in his eyes, this strange new morning without bars.

After kai the press conference, a sea of cameras in a small whare. Tame sits with his son, Hone Harawira and his lawyer Russel Fairbrother. The kōrero is in Te Reo and English. He speaks of the connections between Waikato and Tuhoe, his whakapapa, the battle at Orakau where Tuhoe came to support Ngāti Maniapoto against the colonial forces. He speaks of the failed justice system today and the jails full of young Māori men. He has had 9 months to read, paint and work.

“Are you angry about what has happened to you?”
“Not at all, turn a new page”

He speaks about the work of Tamati Kruger and the mana motuhake of Tuhoe, the work to for the return of Te Urewera. Looking at him I have memories that go back to the 1990’s when he supported our Greenpeace campaign to clean up the Tarawera River. I remember a day at Lake Waikaremoana when he and other whānau were protesting the pollution of the Lake and DOC accused them of having an illegal chicken in a National Park.

This colourful, dramatic personality is also a man who missed his whānau and his little dog, who loves cycling and getting fit. He was imprisoned for illegal firearms although he threatened no one. His people were watched and then attacked by armed masked police and the apology is yet to be given.

The last media questions are about will he be camping in the bush? This is rather hilarious because Te Urewera is all bush and that is where he lives.

The conference is over as the whānau have to travel home via Rotorua, they have people waiting. The sun is high in the sky as I drive away and the words from Orakau which ring in my ears but very peacefully “Ka whaiwhai tonu mātou, ake ake, ake”.

65 thoughts on “Tame Iti and the Mana Motuhake of Tuhoe

  1. Indeed MikeM.

    About the worst people say in the aftermath of some horrible crime where the perpetrator has no record of either mental or criminal tendencies, is to euphemistically refer them as a “loner”.

    No one ever comes out and says “Yeah, that boy was a crazy misanthropic f*cker and we all knew he was going to do something terrible one day”.

  2. I could imagine friends and family looking really really bad if any of them had said afterwards that they’d suspected something. It may well be true but there’s not exactly much incentive to be completely honest in such an horrific situation.

  3. The tube bombers were regular people who their friends and parents never suspected.

    news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4678837.stm

    “Parents at the school told the BBC the teaching assistant had been highly regarded by children and parents. He was a good man, quiet,” said one”

    They *became* radicalised. They acted on disgusting *ideas*.

  4. I can imagine Catherine being there with MR Iti never even mentioning guns or explosives, never asking “WTF were you thinking?”…. because it doesn’t matter.

    It doesn’t matter because to be the darling of the left is to be given a pardon from your crimes, to have all character flaws ignored, and to have adoration guaranteed.

    We are right to fear where such ideological blindness can lead, and it is blindness, there is no better description.

  5. He also had something to do with the missing art at Waikaremoana and got a free trip overseas out of its return, at taxpayer’s cost. Sly fox.

  6. That’s why people call you a RWNJ Arana, because you are one.

    I was on the tube network when some “cheeky young whippersnappers” detonated themselves and took many innocent people with them. If they were on my carriage, I would have been incinerated.

    I saw those transcripts. They gave me the chills. It doesn’t take many deranged people to destroy what we hold dear.

    Did the Police over-reach? We’ll likely never know. Whatever was happening up there is not something I ever want taken lightly.

    You weren’t standing where I was on 7 July, 2005. You’ll never understand.

  7. Arana

    I’m being diplomatic. Another way of putting it is that I thought the Police were entirely justified in their actions and I fully support them taking such actions in future under similar circumstances.

    So you support the police searching thousands of innocent people and breaking the law in trying to obtain evidence? That’s why people call you a RWNJ Arana, because you are one.

  8. I believe your comment is in fact directed at myself

    Your belief is not correct. It was directed at Greenfly @1:52. That is the context for my comment.

    Nobody here has argued that nothing was happening Arana… Why do you insist on these straw men arguments all the time?

    I’m being diplomatic. Another way of putting it is that I thought the Police were entirely justified in their actions and I fully support them taking such actions in future under similar circumstances.

  9. Michael

    There are others as well. I know this because this program was reported to the Police at multiple times. This is what eventually led to it being shut down.

    So what was the name of the program then? If you can’t even tell us that, then I must asume that you’re just lying in order to besmirch wananga programs in general.

    If this is your response when people share things with you, it’s no wonder you end up with a slanted and naive view of the world.

    Your sharing appears to be nothing more than fabrications Michael in order to mislead people concerning wananga programs. Me saying as much is not slanted or naive.

    made by Kyocera Mita, apparently the greenest printer in the world

    Where on earth did you find that information from… Links please?

    My list of examples goes on.

    You have given one questionable example, which is hardly a list Michael. Pathetic!

    Arana

    I’d be interested to know what supposed “peace activists” are doing “playing” with real guns in what appeared to me to be militaristic fashion?

    This has been explained already, and you would be aware of that explanation if you had kept abreast of the case, which it seems you haven’t.

    Greens support loosening of the gun laws? If that’s the case, then yes, my understanding may be wrong.

    I don’t think the Green party has a position on gun laws as such Arana, and if they do could you please link to it to verify your argument?

    I believe your comment is in fact directed at myself and not any Green party representative, and I can assure you that I don’t support the relaxing of gun laws in New Zealand at all.

    In fact I’ve written extensively on the issue.

    I think the position “nothing was happening, guv” is a significant distance from the truth.

    Nobody here has argued that nothing was happening Arana… Why do you insist on these straw men arguments all the time?

    photon

    Obviously, unless you were there, you’re not aware at all.

    You may as well say “the earth is flat, as far as I’m aware”.

    Plonker! I’m asking for you to link to police evidence that claims they abused children as you describe? As far as I’m aware, there is no such evidence. But keep on digging photon, one day you might learn that the earth is not flat.

  10. So what actually did happen? I doubt that I personally will ever know exactly.

    Same here, but, from what I’ve seen and read, I think the position “nothing was happening, guv” is a significant distance from the truth.

    If Iti had not been involved, the Police would have acted in the same way. They made it quite clear what they thought they were dealing with i.e. a network.

    Anyone with prior convictions should be rather careful about repeating history. The results will be entirely predictable.

  11. Greens support loosening of the gun laws?

    Arana, if it were true, it’d be news to me, and to the gun owners who have visited here with the misconception that we support taking their guns away.

    The number of people who actually seem know what Greens actually stand for seems to be pretty small given all the misinformation that is published and posted here.

    http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/justice#P12

    Registering the guns themselves something I do not personally agree with.

    I do not see there being any really significant advantage, and I perceive the difficulty and expense of doing it as buying apparent rather than substantial, improvements in public safety. I don’t think that low-cost and effective are possible together for point 2… but otherwise does this sound like a loosening?

    OK… I am glad to have that cleared up.

    Is Tame a “bad guy” who needed jail time? I have to doubt it. The fear and loathing on both sides is better (as I think you correctly pointed out) handled by better communications. That previous firearms charge had to do with a protest, not IMHO, a crime. You really need to take on the whole picture and this older, mellower but still militant maori still apparently appears on many people’s paranoia radar.

    So what actually did happen? I doubt that I personally will ever know exactly.

    What I AM able to be sure of is generalities. They don’t point to a need for jail time… apart from the fact that he is Maori, or to great competence from the government or the police. I do support the police in general, but when there is an “operation” directed against someone with a high profile it seems to go awry rather more often than I would expect. A certain large German guy comes to mind.

    Why is that? The people chosen for these operations are not random, and one has to at least suspect that they are chosen for persecution.

    Not well either.

  12. Why is it unreasonable?

    For example, if the Police think they are dealing with a geographically dispersed group of terrorists, or drug dealers, then the appropriate course of action is to target them all at the same time. If they target one, but not the rest, then the remainder of the group have time to hide evidence or otherwise go to ground.

    I’m not saying this particular group are terrorists, or drug dealers, but that is standard procedure with a logical basis *if* Police think they are dealing with such a group. If they thought they were dealing with just *one* guy, then I suggest they would have gone around for a quiet word.

  13. Don’t be scared, Shunda. I’m here for you.

    Did you really find Arana to be “the voice of reason”? Do you find this from her:

    “No matter if you think what the Police claimed was true or imagined, this is *why* they simply didn’t “have a quiet word”. They would have feared that if they did, the group may have become more secretive in their activities and therefore a harder risk to manage.”

    to be a reasonable comment?

  14. Great to see Arana being such a voice of reason on this thread.

    Some scary ideology displayed here from the other side of the coin though.

    It appears certain people have their ‘royals’ and none shall doubt their ways!!
    “He’s our guy, and he’s good because we say he’s good….. now follow blind little lambs, or else be gone!!”

    SCARY.

  15. Oh dear, am I correct in perceiving Catherine Delahunty as an absolute liability in the Green Party? The Greenz have a job to do. Get into government and get on with creating a sustainable environment/economy. She should just go. Please.

  16. Greens support loosening of the gun laws? If that’s the case, then yes, my understanding may be wrong. Can you point me to the Green policy position on gun control?

  17. “I laughed when Catherine Delahunty said “I have known Tame for more than 15 years..”

    I laughed when photonz1 wrote “blah” where Catherine had said,
    “But its not about one person, its about the way the state uses force, and used it in Ruatoki.” Photonz1 interprets this critical statement as blah.
    Intelligent response. (Irony, ICYMI.)

  18. He did have at least one reported previous firearm conviction where he found guilty on two counts of unlawful possession. Were there more?

    In which case, one might not reasonably expect lenient treatment if facing a judge on further firearms charges, unless you’re advocating that repeat firearms charges should only be met with fines, which appears to be a call for loosening up on our gun laws.

    That is not something I support. I’m surprised any Green would.

  19. Why was he IMPRISONED? The usual is confiscation, a fine… not jail time.

    The issue here is persecution of an individual… not the gun culture. Guns and Licensing in NZ are handled OK. Not great, but not half as stupid as in the USA.

    I am probably as “green” as anyone here… I have a huge issue with CO2 emissions… and if they every brought F1 racing back to NZ I’d be in there to see it. V8s are more like NASCAR and I find it boring… but I am still a motorhead at heart. Life is like that. You don’t get “perfect” anything.

    Expecting it is simply wrong.

  20. I laughed when Catherine Delahunty said “I have known Tame for more than 15 years..”

    The cognitive dissonance on display doesn’t surprise me (oh he paints, reads, has a dog, cycles, therefore he can’t possibly be a threat).

    What surprises me is this:

    “He was imprisoned for illegal firearms although he threatened no one.”

    Isn’t that very close to what the NRA preach? Guns don’t kill people, people kill people? Ergo, so long as someone isn’t actually threatening someone with a military assault rifle, then possession of military assault rifles is fine? Or should carry a very light penalty?

    If so, I find such positioning utterly bizarre coming from a Green.

    PS: Apparently, I’m a “RWNJ” and I advocate very tight gun control with harsh penalties for abuse.

  21. Jackal says “There’s no such cases as far as I’m aware”

    Obviously, unless you were there, you’re not aware at all.

    You may as well say “the earth is flat, as far as I’m aware”.

  22. Arana says “I’d be interested to know what supposed “peace activists” are doing “playing” with real guns in what appeared to me to be militaristic fashion? ”

    I laughed when Catherine Delahunty said “I have known Tame for more than 15 years..” blah blah blah.

    That exactly what others said about their lifelong peacenick friends when they said they couldn’t believe the film footage of them training with military weapons.

  23. I’d be interested to know what supposed “peace activists” are doing “playing” with real guns in what appeared to me to be militaristic fashion?

    Because, like a lot of self proclaimed “Greens”, they are in claim only.

    I am one of those crazy individuals who actually goes and does stuff the “trendy green” set talks about – rural self sufficient living, solar power, yada yada… and I am the first to admit there is a lot of ironies and quandaries in being green.

    Even today, I learned that my laser printer (made by Kyocera Mita, apparently the greenest printer in the world) has parts that have a limited lifespan – because the old style of making these parts (that would last) used the boogeyman of toxic chemicals – now they are throwaway parts… My list of examples goes on.

    The truth is when it comes to something “in” a lot of people claim to be what they are not and I pick them quickly when they start using lingo, being too politically puritanical or talking ideas they know nothing of the reality.

    This is my peeve about “trendy greens”. Much of the same applies to “trendy peaceniks”.

  24. I’d be interested to know what supposed “peace activists” are doing “playing” with real guns in what appeared to me to be militaristic fashion?

    Seems a very strange weekend hobby for such people. About as plausible as them having a weekend interest in V8 racing.

  25. There’s no such cases as far as I’m aware. If any of those things occurred, it would have been reported on… Could you link to a report to verify your claims Michael?

    I have considered “going public” a few times. However, each time, I have gotten cold feet because I know what the outcome will be.

    A couple of years back I saw someone at Occupy Auckland I recognised. We were friends on that program. I told him what had happened and he told me his own story of stuff that had happened after I left.

    There are others as well. I know this because this program was reported to the Police at multiple times. This is what eventually led to it being shut down.

    I am not suggesting it was all bad. I still have my photo album given to me when I left. It paints a rosy and one sided picture though.

    You feel sick when you hear the words wananga and Ruatoki together… Have you ever thought about seeing a doctor about your problem Michael?

    If this is your response when people share things with you, it’s no wonder you end up with a slanted and naive view of the world.

  26. Michael

    Still didn’t stop countless other incidents of violence, shocking treatment of animals and sexual assault… along with a shockingly lax attitude to safety and firearms.

    There’s no such cases as far as I’m aware. If any of those things occurred, it would have been reported on… Could you link to a report to verify your claims Michael?

    You feel sick when you hear the words wananga and Ruatoki together… Have you ever thought about seeing a doctor about your problem Michael?

  27. I have known Tame for more than 15 years and known of his work against P labs and against violence towards women.

    And so was the case with the other wananga. Still didn’t stop countless other incidents of violence, shocking treatment of animals and sexual assault… along with a shockingly lax attitude to safety and firearms.

    In hindsight, the thing I feel most bad about was that it wasn’t until I was 20-something it started to dawn on me how f*kd up the program was.

    A couple of years ago I had a conversation with a manager of CYPFS who had knowledge of this program and he confirmed it was shut down under controversy and also advised me these days they would never have put a younger person in my situation (at 14 years old) on a program like that.

    I feel sick when I hear the words “wananga” and “Ruatoki” together. Although the latest one is run by a different group of people, it comes as absolutely no surprise to me that controversy and violence are a common thread.

    I am now in my 30’s and would rather have buried this whole episode, but if I am going to have to publically detail what the ethos and operation of these programs are like, so be it. They are totally contrary to the Green Party charter of non violence – Tame Iti and co included.

  28. even more so should not even be in this country.

    My home, my country, as much as it is yours. About time you got used to it.

  29. as a consequence of prejudice and discrimination

    So, nothing to do with unlawful possession of military-style firearms and Molotov co*ktails, then.

  30. I have known Tame for more than 15 years and known of his work against P labs and against violence towards women. he stood by us in the Tarawera River campaign as well. But its not about one person, its about the way the state uses force, and used it in Ruatoki. History repeats. And when the Crown brings in the armed police against a community I as a Pakeha need to speak up. Not expecting everyone to agree but there is an obligation to speak.

  31. For the Tuhoe, today is another page in an already difficult history, whereby another of their own, who dared to stand up to the Crown, is released from custody, having been imprisoned on false assumptions and as a consequence of prejudice and discrimination.
    The Tuhoe will never give up on their dream of rangatiratanga, or to be cowed by the Crown, as long as the sun shines on the peaks of Hikurangi, the mana of Tuhoe will be strong. Kia Kaha Tama.

  32. There is a vast difference between the Police “executing poorly”, and the Police knowingly breaking the law.

  33. One thing I really hate is uppity white people (usually women) who try to relate to Maori and their issues.

    Catherine deep down cares more about green party show boating and trying to come accross as being morally superior by siding with Maori and pretending she really cares about them.

    At the end of the day European people have no right to involve themseleves with the affairs of Maori and even more so should not even be in this country.

    Europeans have destroyed the land and destroyed the Maori people.

  34. Oh, I think the Police often execute poorly. This group got off, in my view, largely due to poor execution.

    I think that anyone who believes there’s no fire when they see smoke is being painfully naive, especially when there are known fire-starters involved.

    I’m sure the Police will keep a close eye on this network for many years to come.

  35. photon

    You forgot to add that lots of New Zealanders use real children to practice kidnapping by blindfolded them and putting a gun to their head.

    Stop lying photon… If you can?

  36. Arana

    That was the outcome, but as you well know, the case rested on legal technicalities about what evidence could be considered – not that it didn’t exist.

    Wrong! The government changed the laws retrospectively so that the “evidence” was admissible and considered by a number of courts.

    That’s because you make an assumption about innocence.

    The accused were found to be innocent of most of the charges… Haven’t you heard of innocent until proven guilty Arana?

    The Police went about it the right way, according to their own procedure, as they thought they were dealing with a geographically dispersed group up to no good.

    The police knowingly broke the law in trying to obtain evidence against the accused. How can that be going about things the right way Arana?

    The procedure was new and brought about by legislation that the police didn’t apply correctly and it was dismissed. The accused were simply not terrorists.

    The accused were guilty of some minor firearms charges that in most cases the police would have handled a lot differently.

    The reality is we’re still none the wiser.

    So, after the police and the crown spent millions and millions of taxpayer dollars investigating, illegally spying on, raiding and trying to convict these people, most of which were found innocent of the numerous charges the police laid, you say that we’re non the wiser? FFS!

    Despite the courts finding otherwise, do you still believe they’re terrorists Arana? Perhaps you believe that because they’re activists working against a defunct and detrimental system that you support… In other words you’re deluded!

  37. jackal says “Lots of New Zealanders learn to blow things up ……people often burn the their rubbish ”

    You forgot to add that lots of New Zealanders use real children to practice kidnapping by blindfolded them and putting a gun to their head.

  38. The local Police are the “bro’s” of the offenders. Ask Louise Nicholos how things work in small town Bay of Plenty. The local Police will not only turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, they will sometimes even aid it.

    Rubbish! The Police don’t usually turn a blind eye to people having guns without a license. They are also not the “bros” of the accused… Most Police officers are not assigned to small towns long term. They move around the country.

    Did you mean Louise Nicholas? Most cops aren’t rapists Michael and that case has nothing to do with the Police overreacting to a few people playing around with guns in te Urewera without gun licenses.

    There were no “1000′s of innocent people” persecuted. Only 16 were charged.

    And how many houses were raided and how many cars and buses were stopped and searched Michael?

    Catherine Delahunty’s emotional sentiments show she has no sense of objective on this issue. This “wananga” (and the others) are totally contrary to Green Party principles.

    There’s no conflict of interest between Catherine Delahunty’s post and the Green party’s principles as far as I can tell. Are you trying to create a straw man argument Michael?

  39. No! The lack of any serious convictions is because there was a lack of any evidence of serious crimes… It’s as simple as that.

    That was the outcome, but as you well know, the case rested on legal technicalities about what evidence could be considered – not that it didn’t exist.

    I never said the police shouldn’t have taken an interest… What I’m saying is that they went about things in the wrong way.

    That’s because you make an assumption about innocence. The Police went about it the right way, according to their own procedure, as they thought they were dealing with a geographically dispersed group up to no good.

    The reality is we’re still none the wiser.

  40. Molotov cocktails and illegal firearms are not something to be scoffed at – would you be so tolerant had it been a white supremacist group carrying out these actions? This is why the Greens are losing some of their core supporters.

  41. I never said the police shouldn’t have taken an interest… What I’m saying is that they went about things in the wrong way. Doing things at a local level instead of allowing the fears of pen pushers to dictate and waste millions of taxpayer dollars persecuting thousands of innocent people is not the way the police or the government should operate.

    The local Police are the “bro’s” of the offenders. Ask Louise Nicholos how things work in small town Bay of Plenty. The local Police will not only turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, they will sometimes even aid it.

    There were no “1000’s of innocent people” persecuted. Only 16 were charged.

    Catherine Delahunty’s emotional sentiments show she has no sense of objective on this issue. This “wananga” (and the others) are totally contrary to Green Party principles and the Green charter.
    See: http://www.greens.org.nz/charter

  42. photon

    Yeah – most Kiwis put on masks and learn to use Molotov cocktails

    Lots of New Zealanders learn to blow things up photon… However, the evidence showing the accused had used molotov cocktails was inconclusive. It could have just been a bottle half burnt in a fire pit for all the evidence showed.

    You might not be aware photon that people often burn their rubbish because it costs money to dispose of it. There was no conclusive evidence showing that they planned to use any molotov cocktails in any “terrorist” act or that they had practiced using them. The person filmed throwing something could have simply finished eating an apple.

    ambush vehicles with military weapons, etc, on a …..”regular basis”.

    I’m not aware of any evidence that showed they practiced ambushing vehicles photon? Do you mean they shot up an old unused vehicle at some stage, just like many people in rural areas do on a regular basis? That’s how I learned to shoot a .22 at the age of seven, and I didn’t have a gun license either.

    If there was a prize for being naive and gullible, congratulations – you’re in the running for it.

    If there was a prize for ignorance and isolating yourself away form the real rural world, congratulations, you have clearly won it photon. Now why don’t you get out and about a see the real New Zealand.

    You mean except for –
    – practicing kidnapping children at gunpoint, with real (blindfolded) children.

    If that was true, then charges would have been laid for child abuse photon. There were no such charges laid… Therefore it appears you’re lying.

    The only children impacted were those of the families who the police raided… They weren’t even allowed anything to eat or to go to the toilet for hours on end. Do you think that’s an acceptable police practice photon?

    - on several occasions being taped that they had to be prepared to kill people.

    Do you mean by throwing buses on them? Don’t be bloody ridiculous photon. Besides, Cameron Slater has said on numerous occasions that he wants to kill people. He even publishes such hate speech on his blog, but you don’t see the police jumping up and down and screaming that he’s a terrorist do you? They don’t even rescind his gun license FFS!

    - Iti saying he was part of a revolutionary army that would take over the Ureweras.

    A figure of speech… There’s nothing malicious in saying such a thing, and beside, he already owns the Ureweras. He could have just as easily been talking about a spiritual or peaceful revolution. You appear not to know what you’re talking about photon, but what else is new?

    Your ability to jump to incredibly stupid conclusions is unsurpassed.

    Arana was arguing that because they had guns without having a gun license, they should be viewed as terrorists. That’s the stupid conclusion that I was highlighting photon. Your ability to misrepresent the facts is unparalleled and your inability to see reason is blatantly obvious to anybody with a brainwave pattern photonz1.

    You clearly have that ivory tower syndrome that so many right wingers suffer from… Have you ever considered getting some help for it?

    Arana

    There were illegal weapons involved.

    There were six guns that nobody had a license for… There was one weapon that wasn’t allowable under current New Zealand laws with a basic gun license.

    If I recall correctly, there was one semi automatic with an extended clip so you could fire more shots without reloading, which is hardly evidence of terrorism Arana. Gun enthusiasts modify their weapons all the time. That’s not evidence that they intend any paramilitary maneuvers.

    it’s wrong to assume the Police should not take an interest.

    I never said the police shouldn’t have taken an interest… What I’m saying is that they went about things in the wrong way. Doing things at a local level instead of allowing the fears of pen pushers to dictate and waste millions of taxpayer dollars persecuting thousands of innocent people is not the way the police or the government should operate.

    The lack of more serious convictions was likely only due to technicalities in the legislation.

    No! The lack of any serious convictions is because there was a lack of any evidence of serious crimes… It’s as simple as that.

  43. Crime (that is – the type of crime that gets you in prison) is mainly committed by people at the “bottom” of society or should i say the “lower socio-economic class”

    Maori are generally in this class of society, so it’s no surprise to find them committing more of the crime.

    I can’t see why you say the answer is solely in the hands of the Maori leadership – it is a problem that faces the whole society.

  44. The Treaty of Waitangi is not mentioned in the Koran, the Hadith nor the Sira.

    Inshallah when Sharia Law comes to New Zealand the part-Maori-mostly Pakeha (PMMP’s) ‘independence’ movement will be crushed in Islamic Courts of Jurisprudence.

  45. I have lived in this area and have first hand experience of a previous incarnation of these “outdoor courses / wananga” type outfits operating in Ruatoki. Given that it has been well over a decade has gone past, and it has given me some time to get over (as much as possible) some painful memories, I am none to happy about having to write this post.

    This is not the first “wananga” that has been setup in Ruatoki. The last one was funded by the government and eventually shut down after countless incidents of physical violence and sexual abuse eventually got past the local Police (who not only turned a blind eye to what was going on, they abetted it).

    It absolutely disgusts me that certain Green Party MP’s are jumping on board trying to pimp their reputation by supporting freedom fighting repressed locals – who just happened to be running around with guns, making molotovs and planning something blatantly-obviously dodgy.

    There is GOOD REASONS outside Police were sent in and came down hard.

    This cause is a LOOSER. Either you are woefully ignorant or choose to turn a blind eye to reality.

  46. This country has spent more money on persecuting Maori than helping them. Imagine if the $91,000 a year it costs to keep one person in prison was used instead to help ten young Maori stay out of prison, the savings we would generate over time would be substantial!

    Close to the truth. The first Maori high court judge put it succinctly when he said “New Zealand doesn’t have a crime problem; it has a Maori crime problem”.

    If that could be fixed it would be a very good outcome. The answer is in the hands of the Maori leadership, the iwi, and the whanu. They could work with “their people”. They could make a difference to the benefit of all.

    If Tama Iti is to be considered a role model, then we aren’t very far down to road to betterdom.

  47. Quite possibly, but it’s a bit of a red herring.

    The Police will always take an interest in what appears to be para-military activity by known activists with militant views, especially when there is illegal firearms involved.

    I can’t imagine them not doing so, no matter what funding issues are involved. Such a situation will always be of interest to the Police.

    If those involved were play acting, then take the sensible step of informing the Police beforehand. That’s what film production companies do. Not difficult – send an email.

  48. No matter if you think what the Police claimed was true or imagined, this is *why* they simply didn’t “have a quiet word”. They would have feared that if they did, the group may have become more secretive in their activities and therefore a harder risk to manage.

    Or playing devils advocate, you could say a massive operation was conducted to justify the enormous expense of counter-terrorism related funding foisted on the taxpayer since 2001, so that the parties involved didn’t lose their budgets to counter existential and undefined “Threats to National Security”.

    I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.

  49. Jackal says “Are you saying that everybody who owns a gun in New Zealand should be suspected of terrorism?”

    Your ability to jump to incredibly stupid conclusions is unsurpassed.

    Except perhaps for greenfly.

  50. Jackal, it’s quite simple.

    Some people, known to the Police for holding militant, anti-establishment views, were observed undertaking what appeared to Police to be para-military training. There were illegal weapons involved.

    Those two factors combined IS of interest to the Police. Such activities may pose a threat to public safety. So, even if it’s “just a big misunderstanding”, it’s wrong to assume the Police should not take an interest. They will, now and in the future, and rightly so, because such activity might well be exactly what it appears to be. To do anything less would be negligent.

    Turn it around. I would have thought the sensible thing to do – if that really was some harmless amateur dramatics exercise – was to inform the local Police beforehand. No, one doesn’t HAVE to do so, but it makes sense to do so, as it’s something that could very easily be misinterpreted. That, too, would have saved a lot of trouble.

    The lack of more serious convictions was likely only due to technicalities in the legislation, so some people can count themselves very lucky. I think what also helped was the level of buffoonery. If this lot ever were serious, they aren’t much of a threat to anyone, except themselves.

  51. jackal says “there was no evidence that any act of terrorism was planned.”

    You mean except for –
    – practicing kidnapping children at gunpoint, with real (blindfolded) children.
    – on several occasions being taped that they had to be prepared to kill people.
    – Iti saying he was part of a revolutionary army that would take over the Ureweras.

    In Jackals mind, these are all things that normal Kiwis do on a “regular basis”.

  52. jackal says “hey were already on private property and simply learning how to use guns like many other New Zealanders do on a regular basis. ”

    Yeah – most Kiwis put on masks and learn to use Molotov cocktails, ambush vehicles with military weapons, etc, on a …..”regular basis”.

    If there was a prize for being naive and gullible, congratulations – you’re in the running for it.

  53. @MikeM : yep, its called treaty settlements, and look how well that money has gone to help the average Maori….NOT.

    Instead an elite few get their pockets lined while the majority keep on living in poverty and partaking in all the pastimes that come with poverty

    – crime
    – child abuse
    – drugs and alcohol abuse
    – domestic violence.

    Treaty settlements should be abolished they will ruin NZ and never reach the Maori who need the help…many are beyond help.

    As for Tame Iti he deserves whats coming to him.

  54. I agree, that $91,000.00 could have been spent in a better way than holding one person in a prison cell. Especially when the charges isn’t at all substantial. I think what the government did here is not really an act of anti-terrorism but an act out of fear of what they possibly thought could have been a terrorist. And a government that acts out of fear rules using fear. Democratic rule isn’t at all like that.

  55. By “curious choice of hunting equipment” and “openly militant,” do you mean that they had guns Arana? Are you saying that everybody who owns a gun in New Zealand should be suspected of terrorism?

    If the “nature of the evidence the Police produced” was relevant and coherent, why were only four people convicted for minor offences? How many people did the police harass to get those four questionable convictions Arana? By my count approximately a thousand people including woman and children were searched or in some way persecuted for crimes they didn’t commit… Are you saying that’s OK?

    I’m anti-establishment, that doesn’t make me a bloody terrorist though Arana. Saying somebody is a terrorist to try and halt their peaceful activism and laying false charges is not an acceptable practice. New Zealand is meant to be a democracy after all, not a damn dictatorship.

  56. This country has spent more money on persecuting Maori than helping them. Imagine if the $91,000 a year it costs to keep one person in prison was used instead to help ten young Maori stay out of prison, the savings we would generate over time would be substantial!

    How much has been spent on helping Maori? Is there a count anywhere?

  57. I don’t think the group would have become more secretive if they were made aware that the police were concerned, because they were essentially not doing anything wrong.

    Whether you believe that or not is irrelevant. The Police thought they were, which is *why* they wouldn’t simply “have a quiet word” to the “local character” about his curious choice of hunting equipment and put the whole group under surveillance.

    Having seen the nature of the evidence the Police produced, it would be clear to many reasonable people the Police had sufficient cause to escalate as they did. You dismiss political beliefs as being almost irrelevant in this case, which is curious given the beliefs of some of the characters involved are openly militant and anti-establishment. There were also illegal weapons involved.

    One or the other may not be a significant issue, however the two combined is cause for serious consideration and action.

  58. I don’t think the group would have become more secretive if they were made aware that the police were concerned, because they were essentially not doing anything wrong.

    They were already on private property and simply learning how to use guns like many other New Zealanders do on a regular basis. You don’t see the police chasing after the white supremacists who brazenly promote hatred and the use of violence against others. They often practice survivalist tactics ie bushcraft to a far greater degree and are largely ignored by the police, perhaps because of the colour of their skin.

    The reason the initial case fell over is because the police broke the law in trying to obtain evidence… The government then changed laws retrospectively to allow the police to spy on people on their own properties, basically removing peoples property rights altogether.

    The claims of terrorism were false because no terrorism had been conducted and there was no evidence that any act of terrorism was planned. Running around the bush with guns and a broken bottle in a fire pit doesn’t amount to terrorism, with such claims fundamentally flawed and entirely ludicrous!

    It should also be noted that even if you don’t have a license, practicing how to shoot a gun while accompanied by a gun license holder is not a breach of the law.

    The only charge that matters was the one concerning not having a gun license while being in possession of a gun and also not being accompanied by a gun license holder, and usually in such cases the local cop will just visit the person concerned and confiscates their weapons.

    Unless there are prior convictions, the cop will then usually give the guns back once a license is obtained and no convictions are usually applied unless threats have been made. In this case, there were no threats made by any of those harassed by the police.

    Why the Urewera four were treated differently and exactly why there were claims that they were terrorists and involved in a gang is undoubtedly because of their political beliefs… Essentially they were persecuted because of their activism, and not because of any breach of the law that would warrant such extreme measures being undertaken by the police and the government.

    A simple phone call or visit by the police could have saved the taxpayer millions of dollars.

  59. Because the Police suspected there was a lot more to it.

    Those charges were dropped – mainly due to legal technicalities in regards to legislation – but showed the suspected offending was wider than just a “local character” playing with a “curious” choice of weaponry.

    No matter if you think what the Police claimed was true or imagined, this is *why* they simply didn’t “have a quiet word”. They would have feared that if they did, the group may have become more secretive in their activities and therefore a harder risk to manage.

  60. Arana, I have never supported the use of fire arms but as Tame Iti said himself, he is well known, mixes widely in society and his phone number is in the book. Not one person rang him up and suggested his activities were a concern. All this nonsense when all it may have costed was one phone call.

    You may think that this would have been a waste of time, but surely it was worth a go.

  61. This country has spent more money on persecuting Maori than helping them. Imagine if the $91,000 a year it costs to keep one person in prison was used instead to help ten young Maori stay out of prison, the savings we would generate over time would be substantial!

    I bet the Tuhoe raids have cost taxpayers millions, and for what?

  62. According to Stuff, wasn’t he jailed for unlawful possession of military-style firearms and Molotov co*ktails?

    If so, are you advocating no legal controls on ownership of these weapons in New Zealand? No legal consequences? A slap on the wrist? You can have them, so long as you don’t “threaten” anyone with them?

    Sounds like an NRA line of thinking to me…

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