An Aotearoa Indymedia feature that I’ve been working on for a few days, and just finished…
European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, International Heliophysical year and Year of the Dolphin – 2007, what a year! Here are some of the stories that YOU published on your local Indymedia Centre in 2007. As always, the struggle continues! [ Highlights 2006 | 2005 ]
Your Aotearoa Indymedia Crew
October 15th Raids
In a wave of massive state repression in Aotearoa / New Zealand, 300+ para-military police carried out dawn raids at houses around the country on Monday October 15th 2007, making 17 arrests. Search warrants were carried out in Auckland, Whakatane, Ruatoki, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington and in Christchurch in the South Island. The police wanted to charge 12 people under the Terrorism Suppression Act (TSA). A massive solidarity campaign formed around Aotearoa and the world to support the activists in jail and after almost 4 four weeks in jail, the Solicitor-General, David Collins, announced that he would not be granting permission to the police to lay charges under the TSA. Everybody got released on bail. However, 16 people – people from Tūhoe, Te Atiawa, Maniapoto, Pakeha; indigenous activists, anarchists, environmental and anti-war activists – are still facing charges under the Arms Act. More information: The Struggle continues… | October15thSolidarity.info | Te Mana Motuhake ō Tūhoe | State Repression in Aotearoa
Tino Rangatiratanga – Tangata Whenua
In Janurary, Tūhoe set up a blockade at Paekoa Rd in Ruatoki. On Waitangi Day, the Tino Rangatiratanga did not fly on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. However, it flew around Aotearoa and the world (and in May was flying/jumping on/off the bridge). In April, Ngati Haua was occupying their ancestral Maunga Whakakoro in the far northto stop it from being alienated from the Hapu forever. Maori Revolutionary Syd Jackson died in September. Thousands of people attended his tangi in Hastings. Michael Cullen had to be protected from angry protesters after being verbally abused and jostled at Taemaro Bay in December. Ngati Aukiwa has been fighting for their land for years and oppose they oppose the Office of Treaty Settlements negotiations with the Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa Trust Board. In late December, activists started to gather in the Urewera to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the occupation at Waikaremoana.
In February, Australian composer Martin Wesley-Smith’s piece Papua Merdeka (Free Papua) was dropped from the Asia Pacfic Festival in Wellington after pressure from the Indonesian Embassy. May saw the relese of The Nu Face of Youth Rebellion, a film produced for Aotearoa Indymedia on the uprising in Tonga in late 2006. An Indonesian Military officer started a course in NZ in May, sparking protests from human rights activists. The same month, Auckland University students protested against a visit by former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas. Five Tongan People’s Representatives were charged with sedition in June. June also saw progress towardsa Free Trade Area of the Pacific. While the G8 met, the people of Tuvalu becamethe global face of climate change. As the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory in Australia came under renewed attack, people mobilised to support them across Aotearoa – Resistance is Existence: Aotearoa stands in solidarity against Australian Racism, International Day of Action: Stop the Genocide on Stolen Aboriginal Land & “Stop the Genocide!” – Protests Across Aotearoa. Helen Clark visited Jakarta in July, and ignored the abuses taking place in West Papua at the hands of the Indonesian Government. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer came to Auckland to speak to the National Party in July, and was met with protests. August saw Fijian public sector workers on strike despite intimidation and death threats from the military government. Meanwhile, Indonesian Police used guns to threaten a West Papuan activist who toured Aotearoa in 2006. As the US-NZ Partnership Forum prepared to meet in Auckland, AIMC carried analysis of the effects of the policies it promotes in the Pacific.
Animal Liberationists were active early in 2007, while in February the Sea Shepherd confronted Japanese whalers. In March Animal rights activists prepared to protest against a meat conference, which took place in April. The Open Rescue Collective exposed a pit of chicken corpses with a live bird inside, while Auckland Animal Action protested against the start of duck hunting season in May. In June, an AAA activist was arrested for using a megaphone at an anti-fur protest. October saw a Christchurch Open Rescue group publicise their first rescue of battery hens.
In April, sacked hotel workers fought back, while the EPMU and Labour colluded to sell out Air NZ workers. May Day was celebrated across Aotearoa in May, and a Subway franchise was taught the power of worker solidarity. Meanwhile, Filipino unionist Dennis Maga went on a national speaking tour and Protests haunted the tour of Phillipines President Arroyo in June. The exploitation of migrant workers was exposed, while South Auckland hotel workers fought against poverty wages, a demonstration in support of Rainbows End workers was held and coal miners across Aotearoa went on strike all before the end of June. July saw 800 hospital cleaners locked out after strike action and Aotearoa Indymedia provided updates throughout the lockout – Day 5: 800 Pickets Resisting – Your Support Needed! & Day 6: “Give Spotless the Boot!”. In August Auckland hotel workers were locked out, while the year finished with Maritime workers taking the fight to gates of Port of Napier.
Convicted rapists Brad Schollum and Bob Shipton were found not guilty of raping another woman in March, with protests held across the country, and as International Women’s Day came, more nationwide demonstrations demanded justice for rape survivors. September saw the reinvigoration of the Anarcha-Feminist Network of Aotearoa.
The Save Happy Valley Coaltion continued its fight in January, while the Coalition began a second occupation, at Mt. Augustus, in February. The Department of Conservation supported Solid Energy against the Coalition, while Solid Energy announced they would sue SHVC in March. That same month, a reclaim the streets was held in Auckland. Save Happy Valley blockaded a coal train in April in Christchurch, while Rio Tinto loomed over the South Island in June. Solid Energy’s legal battle against Save Happy Valley continued in July, while in September, Genesis announced plans to decomission the Huntly coal power plant.
Aotearoa Indymedia had 113 features and many more newswire articles and comments in 2007. The year began with a convergence in Auckland at the start of February. Meanwhile, more mass media mergers and more lies were on the way. March saw AIMC host a “Boot Camp” in Wellington. A report into news media ownership in New Zealand was released in August, while September saw the announcement of the first ever Aotearoa Indymedia Newsreal, which should be finished and released in the coming weeks.
January saw the 20th annual Waihopai Spybase protest, while in February it was announced that Australian Prime Minister John Howard would be heading to Wellington. When he arrived, he was met with an angry protest by Peace Action Wellington and friends. The repression in East Timor was discussed in March, while the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq was marked by protests across the country. The role of Kiwi troops overseas was raised in April, including in protests at ANZAC Day ceremonies. Anti-ANZAC riots rocked East Timor in August, while in October, delegates to a weapons conference could not escape protesters.
Otautahi Food not Bombs resisted police in January, while May saw the launch of Aotearoa’s first online radical bookshop and Food not Bombs and Christchurch students reclaim public space. May also saw the exposure of corporate spies inside two Wellington and one Christchurch based activist group. Protests were held after Mercury Energy cut off power to an Auckland woman, causing her death in July. An anarchist conference was announced for September in Auckland. 14 were arrested in Christchurch attempting to save a youth space in August, and councils were urged to implement user-pays for water. September saw protests against the US-NZ Partnership Forum in Auckland.
March saw the eviction of a Danish social centre, provoking riots in Copenhagen. That same month, mobilisations were held across Central and South America against George W Bush’s tour. May saw police repression at the ASEM protest in Hamburg, Germany, while the Burmese people rose up against military rule in October. December saw 25 people sentenced to 110 years jail over charges from the 2001 G8 protest in Genoa, and the year finished with the Lakota Sioux declaring sovereign nation status.
Check out www.indymedia.org for more stories from all around the world.
Prison and Borders
In April, Hossein (Thomas) Yadegary, an Iranian refugee, was released from Mt Eden Prison after 30 months inside. Protests continued in May in support of two other Iranian refugees inside Mt Eden. In May, the New Zealand Immigration Service conducted dawn raids in Northland. June saw protests in support of the imprisoned Iranian refugees continue, and the tour of former Black Panther leader Angela Davis. Ali Panah, one of the imprisoned Iranian refugees, went on a hunger strike, and Aotearoa Indymedia provided updates – Dying Ali Panah kept in handcuffs – Day 34, HUNGER STRIKE DAY 49: SATURDAY PROTEST TO FREE ALI PANAH & Ali Panah: “Starving for Justice” – Seven activists arrested at Mt.Eden. After Panah’s release on bail on September 3, the focus turned towards freeing the last of the Iranian refugees, Amir Mohebbi, who had been in jail for 3 & 1/2 years. In October, Mohebbi was also released on bail. In November, an Aotearoa anarchist was arrested in Sydney on year old rioting charges stemming from the G20 protest in Melbourne. After initially being held in custody, he was granted bail after a few days.
p.s. Yes, we know – everything is connected! But just for the sake of putting stories into one box only, the struggle of Fijian workers, for example, ends up in the ‘Pacific’ section and not under ‘Workers Rights’.