They used to call us “terrorists”.

They used to call us "terrorists".

There is a correlation of laws being passed by successive governments and the disempowerment of Māori. The Takutai Moana bill of 2004 was the biggest modern day raupatu under legislation. Being outspoken does not make you a “terrorist.”

I do not support terrorism or hate speech in any form and we should not have to resort to it to make a point. The late Matiu Rata always spoke about the way to make change was via “the ballot not the bullet”.

The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland 1985 by the French Government and the murder of photographer Fernandez Pereira

Kaupapa Māori are often put to the side for “the greater good” and have to spend time convincing the great majority, even when we can prove we can do a better job resolving our own issues and for less. Often we have to wait for the great NZ consciousness to take on board inhumane acts we need to change. We are a retrospective country- the state apologies come 40-180 years later ie to conscientious objectors, some Iwi, recognising women’s equal pay, the Dawn Raids etc.

Terrorist acts I know of in Aotearoa in my lifetime, were the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior by the French government in 1985 because Greenpeace and other activists embarrassed the superpower for conducting over 171 nuclear tests in Moruroa and Fangataufa. To this day, France has not accepted responsibility for the genocidal health impacts on Maohi Nui.

The Dawn Raids and the Tuhoe Raid were forms of legalised state terrorism carried out by our own Police Force on its own citizens. It’s a worry, especially if we learn nothing from past experience and it happens again.

The short foreigner in the name of white supremacy who killed 51 innocent people at the Christchurch Mosque was a terrorist- he met all the criteria. The recent Countdown knife stabber, known to Police to be planning an attack was shot dead after having knifed innocent shoppers. I can’t see how his stupid actions could even advance a campaign of anything.

There have been times in NZ history, when Māori activists have been called “terrorists” for daring to speak out against proposed laws which undermined our rights again, again, again and again as tangata whenua.

The role of conventional and social media has also been tested in these times as contributing to normalising white supremacy and subordinating indigenous cultures and their leaders.

The Anti Springbok Tour of 1981 polarised New Zealand communities , and some say til this day. Ross Meurant former leader of the Red Squad, labelled 10 Māori as “terrorists” in his maiden speech in Parliament . In an already hostile media environment, the 10 respectable leaders were not given a chance of rebuttal as Meurant hid behind parliamentary privilege. Meurant criticised the then newly independent nation of Vanuatu as communist inspired- as the late Reverend Walter Lini was outspoken in the South Pacific Forum against the French government and its atrocities against the people of Māohi Nui and Kanaky.

I turn back to a parliamentary speech by Hone Harawira, 23 October , 2007 who names a few of the Māori leaders who were named and imprisoned as “terrorists. “

Hone Harawira- former Tai Tokerau Member of Parliament

HONE HARAWIRA (Māori Party—Te Tai Tokerau) : Kia ora, Mr Chairperson. Kia ora tātou katoa.

In rising to speak to Part 1, it has just occurred to me that I may be the only one in the House who has actually been charged with sedition. The charge was laid in this House, when Ross Meurant came to Parliament fresh from his dastardly deeds as head thug for the Red Squad. He warned the country in his maiden speech of a small group of Māori—10 of us—who he said had plans to overthrow the Government, who were seditious. Well, I was one of those he named, and he was right, actually. The overthrow of the Government was exactly what I had in mind in those days. It is still what I have in mind today, and it is the promise I intend to carry out. Back then, of course, Mr Meurant was trading on his reputation as a hard man to try to cast us in a seditious light. But I note that the tough guy got all quiet when he was asked to repeat his charges outside the House.

The charge of sedition is a strange one and I am glad we are getting rid of it, because it is a contradiction. The contradiction, of course, in repealing this so-called seditious offences legislation is that the act of sedition—“To bring into hatred or contempt, or to excite disaffection against, Her Majesty, or the Government”—should even be considered an offence at all. People who have been charged with sedition are often our sharpest citizens, who are passionate about their causes and patriotic about their country. They are the peacemakers, the protestors, the movers, and the shakers of Aotearoa.

The Minister himself, like others in the Committee, has already mentioned the names of our most celebrated prophets of sedition, and I would like to do so again. They are Erueti Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, who in 1881 were both charged with “wickedly, maliciously and seditiously contriving and intending to disturb the peace”. Despite their protests and demands for a proper trial, Te Whiti and Tohu were held in custody in New Plymouth for 6 months before being shunted off to the South Island with many of their followers. Then, in another contradictory and self-serving act of legislative juggling, the Government passed the West Coast Peace Preservation Act in 1882 so that Te Whiti and Tohu would not be tried for sedition but could be detained indefinitely as the Government thought fit.

Dr Ranginui Walker explained this best when he stated in Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou: Struggle Without End in 1990: “It was by violence that a tribal (Maori) society was destroyed in the first instance, and the (Pakeha) nation state brought into being.” That so-called peace preservation law resulted in peaceful prophets being assaulted, arrested, jailed without conviction, and treated like animals, all for daring to passively resist colonial land-grabbing.

I will say that again: the so-called Terrorism Suppression Act last week resulted in peaceful prophets being assaulted, arrested, jailed without conviction, and treated like animals, all for daring to passively resist colonial land-grabbing. It just goes to show that even though it has happened in the past it seems we have not learnt from it. The so-called peace preservation law was, in fact, a declaration of war against people who were seeking nothing but peace. The so-called Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002 is in fact a declaration of war against people who also seek nothing but peace.

Then, of course, there is the man immortalised in song from last century, and in a three-part series of paintings by Colin McCahon: Tūhoe prophet, Rua Kēnana, of Maungapōhatu, who was charged with sedition in 1916 for daring to call himself a prophet of peace, for daring to call his community Hiruharama Hōu—the New Jerusalem—for daring to establish a policy of non-violence, and for daring to call upon his people to hold to their faith and not enlist for World War I. The police hunted Kēnana down, killing his son in the process, and they packed him off to Auckland to stand trial for sedition.

Then there is the man likely to be immortalised in song and a four-part series of paintings by just about anybody: Tūhoe prophet Tame Iti of Maungapōhatu, who was charged under the Terrorism Suppression Act for daring to call himself a prophet of peace, for daring to call on Tūhoe to be an independent nation, for daring to establish a policy of non-violence within the borders of Tūhoe, and for daring to call upon his people to oppose State terrorism in 2007. It is likely that the police have, in fact, hunted Tame Iti down—I sincerely hope they do not kill his son in the process—and I understand he is still in jail, as we speak, for charges that remain unknown to most of us in this House.

Also, at this end of the last century, other Māori activists, including lawyer Annette Sykes, Mike Smith, Niko Tangaroa, Ken Mair, and Tame Iti again, were accused of sedition for their intentions to incite, encourage, or procure lawlessness in protesting against the creeping control and ownership of Aotearoa by foreign investors—an issue that people are only now starting to wake up to. This is the nub of the whole issue for us. Sedition has been used to quieten the natives and to suppress and oppress anyone daring to challenge the status quo. In fact, even the former Prime Minister and president of the Law Commission, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, admits that the archaic offence of sedition is too wide and too unclear, and that it has been used to muzzle unpopular political speech.

The most recent expression of this ridiculous law, of course, came when Timothy Selwyn was charged for opposing the foreshore and seabed legislation, and there is that contradiction again. The Government passes legislation to steal away people’s rights and then it charges people with sedition for daring to oppose such theft; for daring to speak up for the Treaty, which the Prime Minister herself calls the constitutional foundation of our nation; and for daring to speak out for human rights. Selwyn made submissions, he started a petition, and he sent out emails, but he was stymied by a Government that was determined to ignore due process to ensure it got its way. So he was forced to take more direct action and—surprise, surprise; not—he gets done with a charge of sedition.

Again, I would just like to honour those who have helped to bring this bill to where it is. They are those who have suffered so we can more easily see the mean-spirited, ugly, demeaning, and destructive nature of the charge of sedition; Idiot/Savant for drafting a bill and badgering us all to sponsor it; those who still speak against conscription and war; those who still speak out for their land rights and their Treaty rights; those who still speak out against colonisation and foreign control; those who still speak out against injustice; and those who still speak out against violence and the economic abuse of power. Theirs is a fight for freedom and we dedicate this bill to them all. Kia ora tātou katoa. Hansard [Volume:643;Page:12596].