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May 24, 2012 Where is the Justice in all this?

May 24, 2012 Where is the Justice in all this?


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May 24, 2012 is a day that will be remembered for some time.

It is a day when two Tuhoe men have been sentenced to imprisonment for 2 ½ years on charges that the Crown and Police turned to in desperation after the debacle of the so-called ‘Terrorist Raids’ of October 15, 2007. May 24, 2012 is a day where a descendant of Parihaka and her partner remain awaiting final sentencing for home detention, but is judged that Parihaka can not be the ‘home’.

There has been much coverage of this day with those in the court posting online and tweeting as the judge moved through his process of imposing what can only be viewed as sentences based on charges he determined rather that what those the defendants were actually found guilty of. The content of the trials and the process needs to be written and spoken of by those that know it most closely. Those that sit outside can only speculate on many aspects of the case. However, what is clear is that we have three M?ori people from Tuhoe and Taranaki, and a Pakeha ally as Political Prisoners in Aotearoa. The response to that has been rapid. As we would expect. The first line of protests have begun outside the Mt Eden prison. There are protests being called for around the country and more to take place this weekend.

An appeal is to be lodged and there has been a clearly developed Police public relations campaign across the media and online. That is what I want to comment on in this blog. Over the past five years the Police have drip-fed information to the media as they sought to gain public and media support. The slow process of feeding information was such that even mainstream media at times found it highly frustrating, to the point that the NZ Herald questioned the Police approach in the article ‘Secret Justice is No Justice At All’ (Herald on Sunday Sept 11, 2011) and stated:
“It is reasonable that the state should remain tight-lipped about what went on in Te Urewera until after the rest of the criminal charges have been disposed of – or abandoned. But the secrecy that has shrouded this affair from the beginning does not encourage optimism we will ever be told. Yet official openness is what is needed. The prosecution of this matter, the first serious case brought under the Terrorism Suppression Act, has been a conspicuous mess. The charges’ validity under “incoherent” legislation has failed to satisfy the Solicitor General and now evidence without which the Crown felt unable to proceed has been ruled inadmissible, a finding which is at least suggestive of flaws in investigation, procedure or interpretation of the law.”

The Police response to the sentencing today continues the arrogance that the Police have taken throughout the last five years and is the same arrogance with which the Police initiated their raids in the early hours of October 15th. The use of the media by the Police has been carefully planned including the presence of News cameras on that morning at the moment that Police forcibly entered properties in Wellington. Police press releases today have relied heavily on their version of events that have already been proven in a Jury trial as lacking true substance. The evidence in regards to terrorism was regarded as inefficient when the Solicitor General declined the Crowns request to bring charges under the Terrorism Act. A range of charges were dropped over the five years due to lack of evidence. But today the Police Commissioner strongly advocated that there was sufficient justification for Police actions on that day. Strange really, given the series of events over the past five years.

So what does the Commissioner have to say and how might we understand his latest media propaganda. Lets look at a range of statements made today online:

1. “It [the raid] was not aimed at any iwi whatsoever”

The commissioner indicates that the raids were on many people in many locations. However, he continues to fail to provide any legitimate reason for the closing down of the entire Ruatoki community and the extreme use of armed Police throughout the entire community. There was no lock down or armed cordons in the streets of Wellington that morning. That only occurred on Tuhoe lands.

2. “It was a serious situation that required a serious response”

Clearly the questioning of many of Police tactics and of the actual ‘seriousness’ of the situation has been ongoing. The Solicitor General denied Terrorist Act Charges, the bulk of those arrested that morning had all charges against them dropped and a Jury found the ‘Urewera 4’ not guilty of serious charges. So Mr Commissioner, where exactly is the serious evidence?

3. “ I make absolutely no apology at all for the investigation, for the arrests, for the prosecution and I think the NZ Police should be thanked by the public for getting of that rot out of the Urewera at that time…”

So we have an unapologetic Police Commissioner, who has ensured there is a strong public relations machine in place for this day, why? To justify why he is unapologetic it seems. ‘Surprise, surprise’ or perhaps more appropriately ‘same old same old’. It is clear to our people that colonial oppressors and their institutional enforcers do not see any fault in their acts of oppression. In fact, in our colonial history we have been told many times we should be thankful for all kinds of things. This is not new to us. It is merely a new take on an old story. What is even more offensive is that the Police Commissioner refers to a group of predominantly M?ori people as “that rot”, and in some distorted sense of reality he believes we should be thankful. I don’t think so Commissioner Marshall.

4. “Of course we have had no explanation from Tame Iti and the accused… “

Are you serious? How does this align with the notion that the burden of proof lay with the Police? It simply doesn’t! The Commissioner at this point attempts, unsuccessfully, to turn the gaze on to those charged and asserts that they must somehow state or prove their innocence, even after a Jury indicated that this was not an organized criminal organization. More importantly we have yet to have any seriously legitimate explanation from the Police for their actions.

5. The Police “abided by the law all the way through …”

Except of course the illegal monitoring that happened over months and which contributed to the dropping of a range of charges as the phone taps and surveillance equipment was deemed illegal. Which then led to this government pushing through a new surveillance regime via urgency in order to enable other ‘illegal’ monitoring.

6. “They brought shame on the people in those various locations up and down the country and they brought shame on the people of Ruatoki”

This is perhaps one of the most arrogant, obnoxious statements from the Police Commissioner today. With this statement he attempts to lay the blame for Police actions at the feet of those harassed on October 15th, and to advocate a divide and rule scenario by pitting those charged against their own communities.

Clearly the Commissioner has no real knowledge of the communities from which Tame, Rangi, Emily and Urs descend. These are communities, these are hapu, these are iwi that know the oppressive actions of the State and who have known them for 200 years. Tuhoe and Taranaki know the invasion tactics of the Crown and of previous colonial regimes. Our iwi know that strategies of the Crown and their enforcers, whether those be colonial militia or contemporary military and Police forces. The attempt to ‘blame the victims’ is an old stategy, it is a well known strategy of oppressors and abusers, because to ‘blame the victim’ is ultimately to protect the perpetrator.

Protecting the perpetrator has been a strategy throughout the past five years. There has been a process of denial of information, of lack of evidence, of the Crown and Police pushing the boundaries in an attempt to get some form of affirmation for their actions. There has been no sense of justice shown throughout the past five years. Whanau lives have been destroyed in multiple ways, communities have been devastated on many levels, and there has been no justice for the Urewera Four, or for those arrested on that morning, or for those whanau, hap? and iwi that suffered at the hands of armed Police. That makes the Police Commissioners comments today even more offensive and abusive of those involved.

As Annette Sykes posted tonight “Political prisoners on their own land… in their own nation at the peril of the real criminals walking around free still unapologetic to the families hugely affected by their ‘militia-like’ actions – the police – where is the justice in all this?

Kahore he korero tua atu i tena

(14) Comments

  1. Pingback: Sentencing the ‘Urewera four’ – an affront to our sense of justice? (Part Wha) « Frankly Speaking…

  2. Pingback: Sentencing the ‘Urewera four’ – an affront to our sense of justice? (Part Toru) « Frankly Speaking…

  3. Pingback: Sentencing the ‘Urewera four’ – an affront to our sense of justice? « Frankly Speaking…

  4. Pingback: Sentencing the ‘Urewera four’ – an affront to our sense of justice? (Part Rua) « Frankly Speaking…

  5. Pingback: May 24, 2012 Where is the Justice in all this? | TangataWhenua.com « INDI?ENA GAZETARO REVUO

  6. Te Ngakooterangi

    TE UREWERA 4: [the macroniser didnt work properly the first time] "Ki te manawa kotokoto ka taea ngaa mea katoa." "To the Valiant of Heart Nothing is Impossible." I believe the only way to achieve Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake [ Self Determination ] is through "Kootahitanga" unity. It's not a hui, a gathering that's going to get our act together, it either is or it isn't and right now it ISN'T!. I fear that our people have become seduced by land claims settlements , academia, tribal politics, greed , money, individual gain and poor leadership has become the wedge that has given fall to the mighty kauri [Maaori people]. We speak of unity [Whakakootahitanga] yet we have not become conscious enough to fully realise its potential. We believe we can do it "alone" in our own iwi, working inside the system, through educational development, land claim settlements, tribal identity, becoming a Maaori lawyer, getting educated, tribal and sub tribal identity and marching the country side etc. Common sense tells us that all of these things we have done before don't bring us "ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY" as the indigenous people of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Meaning: THE RIGHT TO GOVERN AND DETERMINE OUR SELF'S IN A MANNER ACCORDING TO WHAT WE DEEM FIT HAS BEEN REMOVED!! I have to ask why wasn't free education for all Maaori put into lands claims, built into the land claims deal and made FREE TO ALL M?ORI? [Because we are the first nations people of this country]. Thats one way we could have developed economic development for M?ori people not having to burden our generations with HUGE STUDENT/LOANS/DEPT which makes it impossible to dream about owning our own home's because we already have a mortgage in our student loans. Where is and what is Maaori leadership really doing? Or is the truth they never had REAL POWER and continue too fool them selves that they do. We seem to be fooled by it too and still we are divided. Our inability to come together is a HUGE WEAKNESS. THE REALITY: Not one iwi, not one Maaori lawyer, not Maaori MP, not one PhD Maaori, not one Maaori Artist, not one Maaori Healer or Matakite [seer], not one Maaori Educationalist, not one Maaori song writer, not one Maaori reporter, not one Maaori public/political commentator, not one Maaori Activist, not one Maaori Academic, not the Maaori King, not Maaori Leadership could save Taame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara from going to jail yesterday, NOT ONE! [ This isn't a put down its an observation]. We were all rendered powerless by one NZ judge. We need to ask our selves the serious question, WHY?? What this tells me is that we are in serious trouble and that every strategy that we have used and still using IS NOT WORKING - So abandon it I say!! I'm not asking for a revolution or acts of terrorism. I'm asking for Conscious E-Love-u-tion, astute intelligence to look for methods we haven't used before. To get rid of all the colonised methods and use the unique templates given to us by our ancestors. To look for all the invisible/visible doorways that are there but we still can't see them to free our people and anyone else that wants a better life and a better standard of living. This is our FREEDOM we are talking about here!! TAAME/TE RANGIKAIWHIRIA: Kia kaha koorua e hoa Taame. Kia kaha koorua ki runga i te whakaaro kai te kimi tonu maatou i teetahi rongoa nui moo teenei hara nui i au peehi atu ki runga i a katoa tokowhaa. Kia kaha koe, ko te tumanako ka whai hua teenei whakatupuranga i t?nei whakatupuranga tonu. Hai oranga moo taatou katoa. Kia kaha koe, koorua, koutou, kia kaha t?tou katoa te iwi Maaori nui tonu. TE KOOTI ARIKIRANGI: "...Ka kuu au ki te ture hai matua moo te pani - I seek refuge in the LORE as a parent to the oppressed!..." - Te Kooti Meaning: there are holes in this system and we must find them - NOT GIVE IN TO THEM, NOT SELL OUT TO THEM, But find the holes in the system and use them as a parent to oppressed. He's talking about the ancient lore given to us by the creator. The lore that lies within and if you should find that LORE [waananga] the kingdom, the power and the glory is yours. Koororia ki tou ingoa tapu!

  7. Te Ngakooterangi

    TE UREWERA 4: "Ki te manawa kotokoto ka taea ng? mea katoa." "To the Valiant of Heart Nothing is Impossible." I believe the only way to achieve Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake [ Self Determination ] is through "K?tahitanga" unity. It's not a hui, a gathering that's going to get our act together, it either is or it isn't and right now it ISN'T!. I fear that our people have become seduced by land claims settlements , academia, tribal politics, greed , money, individual gain and poor leadership has become the wedge that has given fall to the mighty kauri [M?ori people]. We speak of unity [Whakak?tahitanga] yet we have not become conscious enough to fully realise its potential. We believe we can do it "alone" in our own iwi, working inside the system, through educational development, land claim settlements, tribal identity, becoming a M?ori lawyer, getting educated, tribal and sub tribal identity and marching the country side etc. Common sense tells us that all of these things we have done before don't bring us "ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY" as the indigenous people of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Meaning: THE RIGHT TO GOVERN AND DETERMINE OUR SELF'S IN A MANNER ACCORDING TO WHAT WE DEEM FIT HAS BEEN REMOVED!! I have to ask why wasn't free education for all M?ori put into lands claims, built into the land claims deal and made FREE TO ALL M?ORI? [Because we are the first nations people of this country]. Thats one way we could have developed economic development for M?ori people not having to burden our generations with HUGE STUDENT/LOANS/DEPT which makes it impossible to dream about owning our own home's because we already have a mortgage in our student loans. Where is and what is M?ori leadership really doing? Or is the truth they never had REAL POWER and continue too fool them selves that they do. We seem to be fooled by it too and still we are divided. Our inability to come together is a HUGE WEAKNESS. THE REALITY: Not one iwi, not one M?ori lawyer, not M?ori MP, not one PhD M?ori, not one M?ori Artist, not one M?ori Healer or Matakite [seer], not one M?ori Educationalist, not one M?ori song writer, not one M?ori reporter, not one M?ori public/political commentator, not one M?ori Activist, not one M?ori Academic, not the M?ori King, not M?ori Leadership could save Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara from going to jail yesterday, NOT ONE! [ This isn't a put down its an observation]. We were all rendered powerless by one NZ judge. We need to ask our selves the serious question, WHY?? What this tells me is that we are in serious trouble and that every strategy that we have used and still using IS NOT WORKING - So abandon it I say!! I'm not asking for a revolution or acts of terrorism. I'm asking for Conscious E-Love-u-tion, astute intelligence to look for methods we haven't used before. To get rid of all the colonised methods and use the unique templates given to us by our ancestors. To look for all the invisible/visible doorways that are there but we still can't see them to free our people and anyone else that wants a better life and a better standard of living. This is our FREEDOM we are talking about here!! T?ME/TE RANGIKAIWHIRIA: Kia kaha k?rua e hoa T?me. Kia kaha k?rua ki runga i te whakaaro kai te kimi tonu m?tou i t?tahi rongoa nui m? t?nei hara nui i au p?hi atu ki runga i a katoa tokowh?. Kia kaha koe, ko te tumanako ka whai hua t?nei whakatupuranga i t?nei whakatupuranga tonu. Hai oranga m? t?tou katoa. Kia kaha koe, k?rua, koutou, kia kaha t?tou katoa te iwi M?ori nui tonu. TE KOOTI ARIKIRANGI: "...Ka k? au ki te ture hai matua m? te pani - I seek refuge in the LORE as a parent to the oppressed!..." - Te Kooti Meaning: there are holes in this system and we must find them - NOT GIVE IN TO THEM, NOT SELL OUT TO THEM, But find the holes in the system and use them as a parent to oppressed. He's talking about the ancient lore given to us by the creator. The lore that lies within and if you should find that LORE [w?nanga] the kingdom, the power and the glory is yours. K?roria ki tou ingoa tapu!

  8. Rowena Ryland

    2 harmless men,put away for nothing,clearly shows,still racists exists still in this country,so clearly seen for the world to see,i wonder if going out to those paint ball games and shooting paint at people is a act of terrorism,playing cowboys and indians in your own back yard,well i suppose that is out..NZ law is corupt,police and arms offenders are trying to fit in with the america,sad..Who are the real terrorists here?,

  9. Ralph WaiWai

    To confuse the bravado and political anger with acts of terrorism and threats to commit crime against our own countrymen was an easy political smear. Your average ageing white New Zealander has an underlying contempt for Maori, they are deeply entrenched in their ways, technologically weak, simple minded dinosaurs that rarely research anything the politicians or police report for legality or truth. That makes them an easily influenced majority when a biased report is made by persons in respected "positions". The Neo Nazi movement is not new, it is real, it even exists in my own pakeha side of the family. As for the alleged Tangi Mr Te Taniwhanui, you speak as if we will quit our support for Mr Iti's Justice, you are deluded. So that you understand where we are at. Justice is the right to fair treatment, a fair trail, and in the case of a sentencing a fair and balanced sentence. Everything else is corruption abhorrent and will be stared down with a jaundiced eye.

    1. Te Taniwhanui

      More like a one eyed view Ralph. You now hold this guy out as your hero. Hell he could have got the full 4 yrs for the technical crime of illegally owning military style arms (oh yeh and molotuv cocktails) and with good behaviour probably out in 6mths or less. Ralph if the surveillance footage (full) and recordings were released for the public then there would be a very different view. Remember these guys were looking for "dumber the better" Maori aspirants to undertake some of the more unsavoury violence if it came to that, so okay to use our young vulnerable easily led Maori youth in killings if need be ae! Grow up mate, move on to some positive life ventures instead remaining in bitterness and the need for revenge.

  10. Te Taniwhanui

    The blind fundamentalism of the likes of Pihama and Sykes is worrying for our people. They do our people a disservice in not accepting the actions of a fool such as Tame. If Tame and his sad group had, further down their sad track, taken it upon themselves to put their videoed small arms and assualt training into effect, throwing in the odd molotuv cocktail or two, resulting in the deaths of innocent Maori and Pakeha then ALL who cry foul now, would have been demanding that government and police heads roll. Tame was caught out, either he holds himself the freedom fighter he makes out, open to violent resistance (taped recordings of them willing to kill for the cause) if all else fails or he hides behind the facade of sympathetic, he could do wrong, one-eyed supporters. He could not even man up to what he proposed, violent resistance if negotiations failed! Now he tangi as do his supporters please get real folks. If this had been a group of pakeha neo nazis caught out in the Canterbury bush with illegal military style weapons and molotuv cocktails and their discussions of violence against authorities had been caught on tape, we would be clapping our hands in support of the police and justice system. Some of us only seem to see reality through our brown haze of past injustice against Maori. Not this Maori, I see an idiot thinking he is some modern day Maori prophet come guerilla warfare warroir, willing to use violence and kill to justify a cause and willing to take out human life based on his sad ego. Unfortunately the sentence makes Tame a martyr in some eyes but he already was in those very same sad eyes. Tino pai te mahi o nga tangata kaitiaki o nga tangata katoa.

    1. Ngarimu

      Sadly e hoa the story has already been constructed. It would be a huge ask for the public to decontextualise the footage from the story at this stage. The fact that the footage is referred to as 'surveillance' biases the crown perspective from the outset. This case does however illustrate the prevalence of colonial ideology and its assumptions regarding Maori. In order the accept the crowns accusations we have to believe that these people are quite naive as to the futility of violent resistance in this day and age. We have to believe that they are willing to alienate themselves, not only from society at large but also from their own hapu and whanau. We have to believe that they are willing to act unilaterally with horrendous acts that will compromise not only the safety and security of their own people, but also the rangatiratanga of all Maori. An ignorance of tuhoe history and the passive protest that has marked Maori resistance for the last 100 years must also be prevalent. To believe the above is to assume that Tame and co are ignorant beyond measure. What we do know is that the crown has a history of assuming Maori ignorance in the justification of colonial violence, so why should the crowns actions in this instance be considered outside of the historical context?

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