Hamilton: Fireworks used in suspected arson attack on Sacred Heart Girls’ College

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11 Nov – Police are looking into the possibility a fire at a Hamilton college was started by fireworks.

Two science classrooms were gutted by the blaze at Sacred Heart College late on Friday night.

Police are treating it as suspicious and are inspecting the wreckage on Saturday.

“There have been reports of fireworks going off near the school,” said Acting Detective Sergeant Ian Foster.

He asked anyone with information to contact police.

“The fire caused extensive damage to the building which is not only a terrible blow for the students and teachers, but it will result in a substantial financial loss to the school,” Det Sgt Foster said.

In a post on Facebook, the school said no one was hurt.

“It would help if everyone stayed away from the school this weekend,” the school said.

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Wellington: Police, protesters clash at defence expo

9 Oct 2017 – Protesters clashing with police while blockading a defence industry conference in Wellington have been carried from the venue.

Shouting “army of the rich, enemy of the poor” the group had set out to make life uncomfortable for those attending what they’ve labelled a weapons expo.

At least three people appear to have been carried and escorted away from the scene by police, one in handcuffs, but police said as at 10am there had been no arrests.

“We don’t want anyone hurt,” officers told the group, who were pushing up against police and forcing them onto the road outside Westpac Stadium, where the New Zealand Defence Industry Association forum is being held.

The forum includes discussions on emerging technologies and cybersecurity.

New Green MP Chloe Swarbrick was among the protesters, telling 1News Kiwis needed to stand up for change.

“I think it’s really crucial we do things like protest, that we do stand up, that we do have those difficult and uncomfortable conversations because otherwise nothing is ever going to change,” she said.

Anglican Bishop of Wellington, Justin Duckworth, also attended.

The protesters are connected with Peace Action Wellington.

“It’s important to act and to target the drivers of war, those who make billions of dollars from killing people,” protest spokeswoman Jessie Dennis said.

“[Today] is our opportunity to shut down their business, to mess with their profit and to ultimately make the world a better and safer place.”

It’s the third year in a row protesters have targeted the week-long conference, using it as a chance to rally against war, violence and weapons.

Two years ago, more than two dozen were arrested after 75 people, one dressed as the grim reaper and others holding masks of former prime minister John Key, locked arms to stop delegates entering the forum.

Global weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin sponsored last year’s forum, which was attended by about 700 defence industry and government representatives.

Forum organisers said at the time the defence sector generated $60 million for the New Zealand economy and employed 2500 people.

NZ: Captain Cook statues defaced amid calls for Maori chiefs to take his place

 

Captain Cook statue

32 July –  Statues depicting Captain Cook which are being repeatedly defaced in the New Zealand city of Gisborne have sparked a heated debate about the portrayal of the town’s complex colonial history.

Over a three week period a statue depicting Captain James Cook, gifted to the city in 1969 by a brewery company has been smeared in paint and had a bikini and sandals depicted on.

Two other statues of Captain Cook in the city have also been vandalised with red paint smeared on their face and pockets.

With the 250th anniversary of Cook’s landing in New Zealand only three years away tensions are high in the city, 350km south east of Auckland. Many residents have taken to social media to express their opinions in which Cook is described as a “murderer” and “crooked Cook”. Other posts call for one of the statues to be pulled down, saying it is insulting to local Maori.

Cook and the crew of the Endeavour landed in Gisborne’s Poverty Bay in 1769 and the first significant meetings of Europeans and Maori took place nearby.

Nick Tupara, spokesman for the Ngati Oneone tribe, said, according to historical records, Cook’s crew shot nine Maori men of his tribe, including Tupara’s ancestors. Six of the men are believed to have died.

Even though there is some contention as to whether the first statue is an accurate representation of Cook, Tupara says the English explorer is a undeniable part of Gisborne’s “story”. He has urged the community to embark on a calm and measured discussion of their history, instead of carrying out “wasteful” acts of vandalism.

“We are part of Cook’s lineage, that is a fact, and defacing our city is a poor method of showing dissension with our past.” he said.

Tupara said Cook and the Endeavour’s legacy were evident all over Gisborne, with street names, parks and public places named after the man and his ship. However public references or memorials to historical Maori leaders were lacking, and Tupara said this inequality should be addressed: “It is clear from the recent vandalism and heated social media discussion that historical wounds run deep and there is more healing that needs to happen – and I do think there should be more balance in the portrayal of our history.”

One suggestion which appears to have strong support is to replace the statue of Cook with the Maori leader of Ngati Oneone from the time of Cook’s landing.

Gisborne mayor, Meng Foon, said they had no leads on who was responsible for the vandalism, but the council would be meeting with Ngati Oneone to discuss the growing tension.

“Emotions are running pretty high about Cook at the moment, especially for local Maori who lost ancestors,” said Foon.

“The process of reconciliation between the crown and local Iwi is still a work-in-progress, and I think the recent vandalism has shown how much work there is still to be done.”

Lake Horowhenua: Maori Protesters Occupy Sailing Club

15 Sept – On his way back from terminating the Maori occupation of Kaitaia Airport, Police Superintendent Wallace Haumaha was diverted to Lake Horowhenua to deal with another Maori occupation.

Last Sunday, more than twenty Mua-Upoko owners took possession of the former Sailing Club building overlooking this privately-owned lake.

Superintendent Haumaha warned these owners he could arrest them and lock them all up in jail, but was prepared to let the status quo remain while he conducted some investigations.

However, former Horowhenua District Councillor Anne Hunt was on hand to show Superintendent Haumaha copies of various court judgements including one from the Supreme Court confirming that the clubs were unlawfully occupying buildings that belong to Mua-Upoko.

She also pointed out that the Crimes Act justifies owners entering their own buildings during the daytime for the purpose of taking possession thereof.

Mrs Hunt says she is concerned that the police still assume that Lake Horowhenua is the subject of a Treaty claim.

“This is far from the truth”, she says. “A certificate of title was issued in 1899 for the bed of the lake and all the land surrounding it. It was then declared ‘inalienable’ by the Appellate Court.”

Nevertheless, Parliament passed a law in 1905 letting the public use this privately-owned lake free of charge.

Mrs Hunt says research commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal confirms her suspicion that the Crown never bothered to consult the owners first, and as far as she is concerned, that is “theft by statute”. The owners have never received any compensation for the use of their lake.

Both the Rowing and Sailing Clubs had erected clubrooms on this freehold land without bothering to get permission from the owners first. The Court has already confirmed that as fixtures, these buildings now belong to the Mua-Upoko owners.

The other Domain building is occupied by members of the Horowhenua Rowing Club, who refuse to vacate the building even though their licence to occupy expired in 2007.

The Court of Appeal has since established that the Reserves Act prohibits any attempt to extend this lease even on a month-by-month basis.

Last Sunday, the owners recorded footage of the rowers trespassing on a waahi tapu site to launch their boats. Judge Atkins had warned them not to do so, and had summoned Police Inspector Mark Harrison to an in-Chambers hearing to put in place protocols to prevent further culturally-offensive behaviour.

Cr Jo Mason testified in court that rowers urinated in this area because there are no toilets in the building.

Mrs Hunt says that many of the owners believe they have been forced to tolerate this situation long enough. As 30 October marks 110 years since the Horowhenua Lake Act was passed, the owners are preparing to take back control of their own property and decide who can use their own facilities.

Plans are in place to set up a waka ama club this weekend, and negotiations will continue this week to decide what happens to the northern building at the Domain.