International media picks up on possible Maori protests at Rugby World Cup

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TangataWhenua.com is always interested in how international media covers our issues so were interested to see that the Associated Press was running a story in the Canadian media. Here is what the article had to say:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand Activists say indigenous Maori protesters may target this year’s Rugby World Cup to “expose” New Zealand’s treatment of Maori to an international audience.

Titewhai Harawira, a member of the New Zealand Maori Council and a longtime activist, said the seven-week tournament in September and October would be a “grand opportunity” to show international media “what is really happening in this country.”

She said the notion that “we are well looked after and our land is intact are rubbish. We are going to be talking to the international media, absolutely.”

Harawira said she would provide visitors to New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup with a “whole chronology of what has happened in this country,” but did not say what grievances Maori would be highlighting or what form protests would take.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden said protesting during the World Cup could be “counterproductive.”

“I think they will recognize that this is such a one-off opportunity, for them to use it as leverage for something risks a pretty strong backlash,” Snedden said.

“Sometimes protest, of course, is perfectly legitimate. But where the country is trying to put its whole collective foot forward, I don’t think you will find people want to spoil that.”

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