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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Sydney: Revenge for TJ

Avenge TJ Burn Da Copshops

Indymedia: In the early hours of February 14, various anti-police slogans were sprayed across dozens of fences, walls, billboards and bus stops throughout Woolloomooloo, Redfern, Chippendale, Camperdown, Darlington and Newtown.

Later that morning hundreds gathered at the fence line were TJ Hickey was chased to his death by police 10 years ago. For hours his family and supporters marched through the streets of Sydney to Parliament House, chanting against the uniformed murderers of the state, with demonstrators carrying banners such as “JUSTICE FOR TJ” “ABORIGINAL CONTROL OF ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS” “AVENGE TJ BURN DA COPSHOPS” “ACAB” “COPS PIGS MURDERERS” and “FUCK THE POLICE” Continue reading “Sydney: Revenge for TJ”

Doomadgee: Crowd smashes police station after man arrested

Police say just before midnight on Saturday March 2, local officers in Doomadgee, a remote community in north-west Queensland, attended a large disturbance where police allege a man smashed a torch into a female officer’s face, breaking her nose.

The man was arrested and taken to the police watch house.

Police say later that night a large crowd fronted at the local police station and smashed its front doors.

Police reinforcements were sent to the town over the weekend.

On March 7 a few hundred residents staged a peaceful protest.

Community spokesman Alec Doomadgee said the extra police, have heightened the community’s sense of fear. “There’s no respect for leadership in the community from the coppers, the police, at all – they’ve been in mediation the last day or so and still nothing has been resolved,” he said. Continue reading “Doomadgee: Crowd smashes police station after man arrested”

Aotearoa/NZ: Rangi Kemara free on 4 March

18 January, Indymedia: Parole was granted today for Rangi Kemara who has been serving 2.5 years for convictions on firearms charges.

The Parole Board said it was satisfied Kemara no longer posed a risk to the community.

The full decision and the board’s conditions have not yet been released. He will be released on March 4.

‘We are thrilled that Rangi will be free and our solidarity and love goes out to him and his whanau.’ – October 15th Solidarity

The appeal to the Supreme Court has not yet been granted leave, but a decision is expected within the next couple of weeks. Following that, lawyers will make formal submissions prior to a hearing in Wellington.

(His co-defendent, Taame Iti was a few days ago granted parole to take effect on 27 February)

Aotearoa/NZ: Taame Iti granted bail

Indymedia: Taame Iti has been granted parole to take effect on 27 February. Co-defendant Rangi Kemera is set to have his parole hearing next week.

Taame has been in prison since 24 May last year when he was convicted and sentenced to 2.5 years for possession of firearms. Taame has been doing time in Waikeria prison in Te Awamutu—one of the country’s oldest prisons and described to Indymedia as a ‘shithole.’ He has been using his time to create a new series of paintings which he plans to exhibit upon release. Taame has also been working with other prisoners, doing the mental health work he was contracted by corrections to do before he was sent inside.

Taame will have some conditions imposed as part of his release. Travel restrictions may be in place for some time following his release.

Rangi Kemara’s parole hearing is on 18 February. The only reasonable and just outcome of that hearing is the same as Taame’s: freedom.

Aotearoa/NZ: Urewera Four sentenced

May 24: Taame Iti and Rangi Kemara were sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Urs Signer and Emily Bailey had their sentences adjourned but will be sentenced to nine months home detention.

The four were found guilty in May on a number of firearms charges but the jury was hung on the more serious charge of ‘participation in an organised criminal group’. They were the only people brought to trial after 20 were arrested in 2007, when over 300 police carried out dawn raids on dozens of houses across the country.

The sentencing judge said one of those involved held extreme anarchist views and there was talk among the participants of killing, using explosives to kill, and attempts to “smash the state”.

Around 100 people gathered outside Mt Eden Prison in Auckland the evening after sentences were handed down. A demonstration is planned outside of Wellington High Court this Friday (25 May) at noon. Another protest will take place at Mt Eden Prison on Saturday 26th May at 2pm, and in front of the Christchurch Central Police station this Saturday (26th May) at 4pm. Continue reading “Aotearoa/NZ: Urewera Four sentenced”