Aotearoa/NZ: Lake Horowhenua row escalates

Oct 29 – A showdown of sorts has taken place on the shores of Lake Horowhenua, where a long-running dispute between the local rowing club and one of the lake’s Māori owners recently reignited, along with allegations of assaults and vandalism.

One of the lake’s owners, Phil Taueki, who lives at the lake, has been at war with the rowers over the use of club sheds he says were illegally built on Māori land.

The Horowhenua Rowing Club had been permitted to lease the buildings on the lakeside but after being told to leave and given a deadline, they have begun moving out.

The conflict between the two parties is deeply embedded in the management, ownership and administration of the lake, which is the subject of 22 Waitangi Tribunal claims.

Lake HorowhenuaLake Horowhenua – once the food bowl for its iwi – is now one of New Zealand’s most polluted lakes.

Lake Horowhenua is unique. It is owned by Māori but, after a parliamentary act in 1905, its administration and management became the responsibility of a government-appointed board.

The Horowhenua Lake Domain Board is made up of four council representatives and four iwi but at present just three iwi members sit on the board.

In 1950, the government also formed a trust to represent the Māori owners, but not all of the owners support it.

Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said the model was not one that would be used today. He said he had heard the concerns of Māori about the set-up and was willing to work with them to solve the situation.

Mr Taueki, who is one of the lake’s many owners, operates without his wider iwi’s support – but with the belief he has every right to occupy and manage the lake, of which his grandfather was an original owner.

The Taueki whanauThe Taueki whanau – including Phil Taueki, at far right.

According to a Māori Land Court judgment, the buildings at the heart of the dispute are considered fixtures and, consequently, are the property of the lake’s Māori land owners.

The lake’s board, however, has permitted the rowers to use the club sheds for decades.

Mr Taueki has often been left standing on his own in his opposition to the agreement.

During the long-running dispute, there have been allegations of assaults, claims of death threats and vandalism.

Mr Taueki has had about 40 different charges laid against him but said all of them had been withdrawn or dismissed, with only a couple still pending.

He said the lakeside had been quiet since the rowers left the buildings and he hoped they would not come back.

Continue reading “Aotearoa/NZ: Lake Horowhenua row escalates”

Wellington: TPP protesters arrested

Police arrest protesters at the demonstration in Wellington

15 Sept – At least 25 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) protesters were arrested after trying to force their way into a government building in Wellington.

A group of about 60 protesters had been outside the building since 10am.

Groups of two tried to push past police to get into the building for about two hours before the police began arresting people.

TPPA action group protester getting dragged off from the protest.

Others had been arrested for sitting on the road and refusing to move.

The protesters, from the group Show Us Ya Text, tried to force their way into the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade building in Wellington.

Protesters arrested at the demonstration.

They wanted documents about the proposed deal published and said democracy should not happen behind closed doors.

Police had pushed protesters from the ministry building entrance to the footpath, and about 20 of them had then sat on the street on Lambton Quay.

The protest group has previously occupied the Prime Minister’s electoral office in Auckland and invaded Trade Minister Tim Groser’s office.

“We’ve come down here because we’ve asked the Government countless times to release the text of the TPP and they have not obliged, so we’re conducting a search and seizure to attempt to enter the building and retrieve the text ourselves,” she said.

TPPA Action Group trying to force their way into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade building.

NZ: Airport protesters arrested

9 Sept – A 28-hour occupation of Kaitaia Airport by Ngati Kahu has ended in a blaze of tyres and five arrests.

The airport occupation, which began just before lunchtime on Tuesday, was brought to an abrupt end as police moved in just before 3pm today.

Action leader Wi Popata, of Ngati Kahu, said the occupation was a protest against a $100 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement this week.

The Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill was read for its third and final time in Parliament today, ratifying the settlements of four of five Muriwhenua iwi – Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto, Te Rarawa and Ngati Kuri. Ngati Kahu is the only Te Hiku iwi to not yet settle.

Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said negotiations with the protesters had failed to reach a resolution and police were left with no choice.

Evicted protesters at Kaitaia Airport. Photo / Edward Rooney
Evicted protesters at Kaitaia Airport.

About 20 police went to the airport and closed the access roads. The protesters were given the ultimatum of leaving on their own accord or being arrested.

Six members of the occupation remained on a bench seat in the airport carpark and were each individually arrested.

Tensions flared when the departing protesters lit fires on either side of the airport driveway, fuelled by tyres and fenceposts.

The Kaitaia Fire Station sent one appliance to put out the bonfires. Protest leader Mr Popata said the fires were “signals”.

“It was to show the shit we’ve been through. It’s to remind people of the houses, the marae, the taonga that has been destroyed.”

He said he and his brother Hone had left the airport rather than be arrested after being urged to leave by older protest members.

“Our people didn’t want us to be arrested,” he said.

“They wanted us to come out and carry on.”

Wi Popata said the protest would return, despite having now been formally trespassed from the property.

“We’ll be back. We will mobilise our iwi and we will come back and take our land.”

Hikoi to Kaitaia Airport for occupation by Ngati Kahu. Photo / Edward Rooney

The Far North Mayor John Carter said flights were expected to resume by tomorrow morning.

About 50 people had gathered at the Oturu Marae before walking to the occupation site with fence posts and corrugated iron to construct a marae. They went to the front desk and informed Barrier Air pilot Sam Bowering they were taking over the facility. The airport’s operators locked the terminal building as the protesters gathered outside to hear speeches in the carpark.

One of the organisers, Hone Popata, had said that and all air operations would be closed.

“We are in charge now,” he said. “We’re here to fight and to take back our land.”

Police asked the occupiers to allow the airport company Far North Holdings to retrieve a Barrier Air craft and a fuel truck, which was agreed to. “It’s only a plane,” one woman said. “We want our land.”

Ngati Kahu Iwi occupy the Kaitaia airport. Photo / Supplied via Facebook

Wi Popata said the airport land was important to three hapu of Ngati Kahu – Patukoraha, Ngai Tohianga and Ngai Takoto – and included important boundaries, with two urupa in the area. The Matenga-Erstich whanau said the owners were “repossessing” land taken for an airfield in WWII.

Protesters appear to be building a marae in the Kaitaia Airport car park. Protesters building a marae in the Kaitaia Airport

Ngati Kahu and Ngai Takoto have each been offered the right to buy 50 per cent of Kaitaia Airport in their respective Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

But if Ngati Kahu does not settle with the Crown within three years, 100 per cent will be offered to Ngai Takoto, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told Parliament today.

The offer for the airport is conditional on the land remaining an airport and the right to purchase takes effect in three years.

“If Ngati Kahu have not concluded a treaty settlement within three years of Ngai Takoto settlement date, around December 2018, then Ngai Takoto will have the sole right to purchase the property,” Mr Finlayson said during debate on four northern settlements: Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto and Te Rarawa.

“This approach was taken because the Crown had to balance the interests of both iwi while ensuring certainty about the future of the airport.”

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Christchurch: Police pelted with bottles at student parties

25 May: Police were pelted with bottles in Upper Riccarton in Christchurch last night as four “alcohol-fuelled” parties caused mayhem. Between 100 -150 people were at the parties when police were sent out to quell party-goers in the Suva St area.

“There were four parties at four different addresses with almost rioting behaviour,” said inspector Murray Hurst. Police called the Fire Service to put out a bonfire about midnight. Arrests were made, said Hurst.

The incident follows a separate altercation in Riccarton on Friday night where a drunken female partygoer punched and kicked a police office. The woman was joined by other female partygoers who continued the attack until nearby officers could come to his rescue.  Continue reading “Christchurch: Police pelted with bottles at student parties”

Christchurch: Riot police pelted as party blows up

2 January: Police in full riot gear were pelted with bottles as they tried to break up a new year party in Christchurch, while in Wellington 52 people were arrested on a night when police said people were generally well behaved.

Police were called to the out-of-control party in Spreydon after about 200 partygoers broke almost every window in the house and broke doors.

Eleven police in full riot gear had glass bottles thrown at them as they tried to bring the riot under control. Two people were arrested for disorderly assembly. Continue reading “Christchurch: Riot police pelted as party blows up”

Napier, NZ: bottles thrown at police, cop car smashed

August 5: Hundreds of drunk teenagers hurled bottles at police, fought among themselves and relieved themselves on neighbouring properties at a raucous party in Hawke’s Bay, Napier.

Police say they were abused by violent, intoxicated teens who flocked to the house on Friday night after word spread on Facebook about the “Port Party”.

It took 25 officers more than two hours to disperse 500 people at Friday night’s party, he said. Police from around the district attended, preventing them attending other disorders reported that night. Officers had bottles thrown at them and the window of a police car was also smashed. Continue reading “Napier, NZ: bottles thrown at police, cop car smashed”

Waikato, NZ: Prisoners riot

I June: Prisoners at Spring Hill prison in Waikato caused millions of dollars of damage in an 8-hour riot on Saturday.

Corrections chief executive Ray Smith said the incident started just after 10am, when the 29 prisoners in the high-security unit suddenly became disruptive, aggressive and violent towards staff who were forced to retreat from the unit. It is understood the prisoners were then able to break into a storage facility housing sports equipment, including volleyball poles, which were then used as weapons. Cleaning products found in the storage area were used to light fires in the unit’s grounds and items including mattresses and blankets were burnt.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said “They bashed through into the guards’ areas, into the officers’ area, then they got all the records and the files and burnt all those.”

The riot was brought under control before 8pm on Saturday after large numbers of police, fire and prison staff were brought in to regain control of the devastated wing.

Three prison officers suffered injuries including a broken arm, dislocated shoulder and facial injuries.

Officials are blaming the riot on ‘gang rivalries’, but a friend of an inmate says that inmates were angry about a new lockdown regime. Continue reading “Waikato, NZ: Prisoners riot”