Occupy Wellington

I’ve held off from commenting on this affair until now, as I wanted to get a feel of how the media was handling it, whether facts were being published, and how the Occupy Aotearoa project was coming along.

There have been some interesting things going on. Occupy Wellington has a distributed leadership consensus decision-making group, which holds twice daily general assemblies of all attending the occupation, and is generally allowing allcomers to participate, discuss, vent, and help put plans together.

There have been a few issues, at first mainly weather related (one structure was re-assembled three times in as many days…), but as time has gone by a few personalities have become problems. There are sufficient skills in facilitation within the group that such issues have been quietly and firmly dealt with, although one disruptive visitor has been identified by Police as someone they want to remove from Wellington environs, so reluctantly an agreement was made that they would be contacted if he showed up again; when he did this was communicated to him and he went away immediately after yelling abuse at the ‘hospitality’ team, shouting that it was all lies. But the fact that he wasn’t keen to hang around and dispute the topic (his usual behaviour) gives the lie to his protestations, and to my knowledge he hasn’t been seen since.

Liason with Police and City Council has been positive and open from early days. A ‘hospitality’ roster keeps the camping area safe from random pillaging, whilst also functioning as a meet’n’greet point for visitors, media, and those who are staying overnight but have jobs or study to go to during the day. Organisation of food, waste disposal, recycling and workshops is happening in an organically fluid way, as people volunteer to work on various tasks and rotate as they become interested in different aspects of keeping this kind of action going.

Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) principles are being followed in planning any kind of satellite action and with the discussion group structure working well, there is sufficient input to utilise all available skillsets, whilst also having critical oversight from those campers who have more extensive experience in running demo’s, marches, protests or occupations.

There are also Occupy groups running in Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau, New Plymouth/Taranaki, Christchurch/Otautahi, Dunedin/Otepoti, and a satellite of the Christchurch occupation at Nelson.
Some of these groups are in contact with each other, due to affinity group connections between individual campers.

There’s a lot of chatter on FB, Twitter, and mainstream media, not all of it accurate or positive about the events or meanings of these actions. Occupy Wellington has its own webpage here, which is being updated sporadically by various people. There are some workshops planned for Labour Day (monday) with a schedule here, and there’s a ‘blogroll’ of media reports here.

In the interests of fair and unbiased reporting, I have to state that I spent 3 nights camping at the Occupy Wellington site; my tent is still there, in someone else’s use, as I’ve slunk home to try to cure a dose of ‘flu. I admit to being closely linked to quite a few of those who are core to this occupation action, and I 100% support what they are doing.

As usual, here’s a few pix to finish off with. Not sweary at all, totally SFW.

Green Mana electorate candidate Jan Logie with supporters on day one.

Green Mana electorate candidate Jan Logie with supporters on day one.

General Assembly on the warm bricks, late afternoon, day one

General Assembly on the warm bricks, late afternoon, day one

70's retro peace and love... day two

70's retro peace and love... day two

placard, day two

placard, day two

the growing campsite, day two

the growing campsite, day two

Loaned tent, replacing storm-damaged wharenui tarp, day three

Loaned tent, replacing storm-damaged wharenui tarp, day three

A dry blackboard, workshops notices day three

A dry blackboard, workshops notices day three

golden clouds as dusk falls over the encampment, day three

golden clouds as dusk falls over the encampment, day three

sunshine after rain, laundry out to dry, day four

sunshine after rain, laundry out to dry, day four

donations of fruit were placed on the open table, compost bin at the ready, day four

donations of fruit were placed on the open table, compost bin at the ready, day four

Keith Locke’s final Back Benches appearance

Keith with Damian and Wallace

Keith with Damian and Wallace

Wednesday night at the Back Benches pub across from Parliament is turning into a bit of a regular affair for the youth wings of most of the parties – last night was no exception as Young Greens (and a few older folk) turned out to support Green MP Keith Locke, who is leaving Parliament at this election after twelve years of service as a Member. The panel consisted of Labour Deputy PM, the Hon Annette King, and National’s MP for Wairarapa, John Hayes, along with Keith. Minor cameo to Labour candidate for Wairarapa, civil liberties lawyer Michael Bott, who propped up the bar while enjoying John Hayes increasingly uninformative responses.

It’s been an interesting week in politics – Suffrage Day on Monday, 19th September got a mention, along with our figures for gender pay inequity; there is of course the rushing through of the Search and Surveillance Bill under urgency, which got quite a bit of time; and lest we forget, Rugby was a winner on the night too, especially for Tonga up in Northland Stadium. Sex education had been a hot topic over the weekend papers, so convicted paedophile Graham Capill’s former colleague from United Future party, now the leader of the Kiwi Party, was dragged in to discuss the ‘christian’ position on just how much adolescents going through puberty need to know about what the changes in their bodies mean. I wonder if he supports the concept that children should have the right to tell an adult not to sexually abuse them? Oh, that’s right, if they don’t know the words to use to name sexual acts, they can’t complain about them? Yeah right …. Young Labour supporters were sensible and coherent by comparison, speaking very well about what kind of sex education adolescents need.

Police Association president Greg O’Connor got his fifteen minutes to defend the illegal actions of Police officers, to the noisy disapproval of a large proportion of the crowd. Got very close to contempt of Court by criticising the Supreme Court decision, but then pulled himself up when asked for clarification by Damian Christie. Fascinating. The arrogance of sworn officers who maintain that their criminal activity is different to any other citizen’s criminal activity is mind-blowing.

But don’t take my word for it, feel free to watch the episode on TVNZ On-demand here.


DVD image

Tonite, 12 August · 7pm to 11pm

13 Garrett St, Level 2 (Just off Cuba St), Wellington

7pm Sharp – Karakia

Intro: Abi King-Jones, Errol Wright

Korero: Moana Winitana, Annette Sykes, Ati Teepa

Poetry: Ken Vicious

Music: Upper Hutt Posse, Acoustic Activists, Don Franks, DJ Hammond Head, Vanessa Stacy

The DVD launch is being hosted by the ‘Concerned Citizens’ at their art gallery space; level 2, 13 Garrett St (just off Cuba St).
The event is will be similar to an art exhibition opening rather than a formal seated event, although there is seating available.
There will be refreshments, nibbles, tea and coffee available after the Karakia.

police, agents, informants & spies (public & private) are not invited

World Music CD launch in Wellington!

Gig poster, shd b up all over town!

Some friends of mine, some of whom are greenies, and some of whom are Greenies, are in a little band called the Klezmer Rebs. These days they’re scattered all over the place, but they’ll be playing at the launch of a new compilation CD soon in Wellington. Thought I’d post this straight away so I don’t forget (my brain being a bit like that these days…).

So here’s the goods:

Friday 15 July 2011 @ 9pm
The Garden Club
13 Dixon Street, Wellington
Entry $15 or $20 including the CD

…The night will feature performances from:

Niko Ne Zna (Balkan Brass Band with special guest ‘The Gypsy Master’)
Sam Manzanza and the Afro-Beat Band
Klezmer Rebs (Jewish Klezmer band)
Los Jineteros (Live Reggaeton band)
Carlos Navae Trio (Salsa)
Zamba Bem (Brazilian Dance)
Navjeevan (Indian Bhangra drumming)
Frankie Fresh and DJOE
And more….

‘The Overseas Experiment’ proudly presents this compilation of locally produced music in traditional and contemporary ‘world music’ styles. This album features songs from Wellington-based musicians from a wide variety of ethnic and musical traditions. Proceeds from CD sales will go directly to the artists and a small portion will be used for an ongoing project to develop musical opportunities for refugee and recent migrant background youth in Wellington.

The Compilation CD will be officially released and available for sale at this event.

I admit to having lifted all of that text from the event page on FB, but then again I was specifically asked if I could give it a push, so there y’are, no copyright infringement there, officer!

Concerned Citizens Exhibition opening in Wellington

Concerned Citizens launched their fundraising exhibition at their temporary gallery space in Garrett St, Te Aro, last night.
A good crowd attended the opening, with viewing beginning at 4.30pm, accompanied by mulled wine, homebrew beer, and a choice of non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks.

After a formal welcome and Karakia by Moana Winitana around 7pm, Food not Bombs crew served snacks, and a little later Frances Mountier from October 15th Solidarity spoke for a few minutes about the background to the raids. She then introduced Nicky Hager, who gave an informative talk on the wider issues around the TSA and the Operation 8 raids, with time for some questions afterwards.

At 8pm, Abi King-Jones introduced a showing of “Operation 8: Deep in the forest”, which a large crowd stayed to watch. The movie is also showing on general release at cinema theatres around the country at present. View the trailer here: Operation 8

The exhibition is open until Sunday evening, 11am-8pm each day, with all works for sale by silent auction. More information at Concerned Citizens

early on in the exhibition viewing

early on in the exhibition viewing

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager in full flight, watched by Frances Mountier

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager in full flight, watched by Frances Mountier

From the Concerned Citizens Collective –

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to let you all know that as we realise more and more the scope of opening the auction up to global bidders via the internet, it would be AMAZING if you could tell ANYONE IN THE WORLD that’s interested in

A. Supporting a struggle against human rights abuses in New Zealand, and the rest of the world


B. Buying amazing art from up and coming and established New Zealand artists

that they NEED to go to www.concernedcitizens.co.nz and place their bids NOW! All works can be viewed on the website. BIDDING WILL CLOSE AT 8PM SHARP!
If everything works out, there will be a live video feed of the bidding war at Garrett Street from 6-8pm tonight, and the auction will be led by prominent Springbok tour protest organiser John Minto and alleged “terrorist” Valerie Morse. There will be bus launching! There will be George W Bush look-alikes!

In addition, PLEASE let anyone you know in Wellington that is also interested in A and/or B, tell them that between 4 and 8pm today, there will be a bidding war party at the Garrett Street exhibition space, with leading bids projected, John and Val’s spectacular visual display of the running total of funds raised. Come and hang out and bring as much as you like to drink/eat and partake in the festivities! There will be mulled wine and home brew but we’re worried it may run out before the auction closes.

Thank you so much everyone for your support!

Stunts on the Beehive lawn!

To promote an Art Gallery exhibition which opens tomorrow, a group called Concerned Citizens is planning a re-creation of a claim used in the Pascoe Affadavit to arrest one of the accused in Operation 8.
So they’ve built a catapault, and will test launching bus-shaped items at an actor standing in for George Bush, outside Parliament tomorrow around noon.

Media release here: Scoop.

Testing the bus-catapault in Glover Park today

Testing the bus-catapault in Glover Park today

Global Poverty Project campaign launches in Aotearoa

I’ve been a little busy lately, for one reason or another, and neither been attending many events, nor blogging about green stuff.

I’ll make amends with a quick description of an event I was invited to by the Wellington Activation Manager for the Global Poverty Project, Sarah Wood, which took place at the Banquet Hall of Parliament last night.

MP’s Jackie Blue (N) and Steve Chadwick (L) spoke, as the hosting MP’s and Chair and VC of the Parliamentary Committee to Effect Change on Women’s Issues, and welcomed the organisers of the Global Poverty Project to Wellington, and also to Aotearoa/New Zealand, as they begin the launch of their campaign here.
In Australia, it’s fronted by Hugh Jackman, no less, and has had endorsements from Bono and other celebrities, but you can look at the website here.

In Wellington, we were treated to a very well-presented launch by Hugh Evans, a young man who first experienced the priviledge of his birthright when he was taken to the Phillipines by World Vision as a 14 year-old schoolboy. He realised then that most of the things he took for granted about his life (home, access to schooling, his parents’ jobs) were essentially an accident of birth – if he had been born at the same time, in another place, his life might have been like that of the teenagers he met, who survived by selling scavenged metals on the Burning Mountain rubbish dump that he visited.

The presentation is travelling around New Zealand, visiting the major cities.
It’s back here in Wellington on Friday 28th August, at Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus of Victoria University of Wellington. Lecture Theatres are on the ground floor, there’ll be signs to guide you to the right one(s).
so they have some idea how many lecture theatres they’ll need! They requested that for today as a deadline, but if you find this late, Sarah is a very accommodating person and may let you off.

Trouble in Paradise

Ethnically diverse groups of Fijian residents are a concern for social justice activists, following reports of foreign journalists being expelled and censorship of local news in the Fiji Times, after the latest round of crackdowns by coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama. Social networking website sotiacentral.com was taken off the net, and while Fiji residents are still able to use MSN to contact relatives outside Fiji, communication is difficult.

Property and business owners in the main islands, who are not ethnically Melanesian Fijians, may be the next target for Bainimarama’s high-handed tactics. Questions should be asked about how New Zealand will support non-melanesian Fijian citizens, and ex-patriate residents, should the worst possible outcome happen. This is not even counting the possibilities of harm to any foreign tourists currently holidaying in the ‘Pacific Island paradise’.

Today’s Dominion Post editorial says what many have thought, but not voiced in the past four months since the coup – that Bainimarama has styled himself on Robert Mugabe, the arch-totalitarian of Zimbabwe, known now as a genocidal megalomaniac. Our New Zealand Defense Forces, who trained the Fiji Army leaders at Burnham Military Camp, must now take stock of what their protégée’s have done with the skills and tactics so learned.

Tamils march around Wellington, the press doesn’t seem to care.

In contrast to the media frenzy I witnessed over the S92a Petition being presented at lunchtime yesterday, only a couple of media representatives were on hand to record this. At least Scoop posted something vaguely accurate – although there were more like 200-plus Tamils, including children in the count, which I confirmed by asking one of the organisers.

The combined Tamil communities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Palmerston North gathered in Wellington on Thursday (19th February 2009) to march through town and around to the British and Indian High Commissions, and the American Embassy, before arriving at Parliament to entreat the Government to issue a statement condemning the actions of the Indian Government in their military actions in Northern Sri Lanka against the Tamil peoples.

After waiting patiently while another group of petitioners were addressed on Parliament steps, the crowd stood waving banners and chanting “Free Tamil Eelam”, and “Help Us”.
Green Party MP Keith Locke came to address the crowd from the forecourt.

A dvd of footage taken during recent military actions against Tamil communities in northern Sri Lanka was being distributed to interested media, in order to show the kind of warfare occurring, and conditions in which the wounded and dying were being managed.
The hand-held, shaky images, with voiceover by the cameraperson, are powerful and ultimately very disturbing. There are no UN or Red Cross personnel allowed in Tamil-held parts of Sri Lanka, so there are few medical supplies, no adequate water or sterile situations for examining wounded and dying civilians brought to treatment stations.
The footage shows children screaming hysterically at the feet of sheet-wrapped corpses, traumatised by the bombing they have just survived, as much as the violent death of a parent just witnessed.
Children found by a camera operator, sitting in a dirt trench behind a collapsed house, the most minimal bomb shelter you can imagine, crying with fear and traumatised, waiting for older siblings or parents to return. Not leaving, because they have been trained to stay until they are told to come out …

More information about actions taking place in other countries at the links below.

British Tamils Forum
Canadian Tamils site