It Is Possible To Be Both Pro Ihumatao AND Not Anti Police

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Watching the course of developments around Ihumatao over the past few months, it is hard to escape the sensation that something extraordinary has happened. What would, some decades ago, perhaps have been written off as a “Maori” issue by much of New Zealand – and consequentially, disparaged, denied, and turned into a pit of talkback-radio excoriation – has in fact managed to attain broad support from across the community.

The fact that John Roughan was prepared to pen a piece in the Herald a few days ago speaking about his own evolving perspective upon the situation – and attempting to cast it as a more justified cause to support than Bastion Point – would seem to confirm that there’s been some critical shift out there in the tumulous [not to mention tumescent] body politik. John Key’s literal biographer, and a man who not a month beforehand was speaking wistfully about the rulership of Auckland by “Remuera Patricians”, being on-side for Ihumatao being protected is a most interesting barometer, indeed.

But if the necessity of the protection of Ihumatao has now managed to draw in support from ‘unexpected’ quarters like Roughan and his ilk, it has also succeeded in conjuring self-appointed championship from much less surprising specimines. And, I would argue, not necessarily to the Cause’s overarching favour.

The video which has been doing the rounds, of a protester at Ihumatao verbally castigating a police officer and demanding that he decamp from his lawful duty to the state “back to your own country”, is merely the tip of the iceberg. At the risk of regurgitating NZ Police press statements upon the subject, it really does seem like the Police deployed on that watch-line have displayed stoic professionalism in the face of being spat at, insulted, taunted, and – especially in the case of Maori police officers on site, as well as others – racially abused.

Once upon a time, particularly some four decades or more ago at the height of the 1980s’ epoch of ‘robust encounters’ between Police and Protesters, the happenings and their outcomes would no doubt have been severely different. And it is not at all to seek to excuse the Police from some of their previous (or, indeed, present) areas of misconduct, to say that the restraint they have exercised in recent times at Ihumatao as well as elsewhere has been to their credit. [Indeed, due to the significant quotient of new cops about the place these days, it’s absolutely no exception to state that much of what’s egregious even in the relatively recent record of the NZ Police, may have occurred well beyond they joined the force, were anywhere near it, or in some cases, had even actually been born.]

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Yet in every war, there is an inveterate temptation when going into it to attempt to simply re-fight the last one rather than engaging with the actual fact-situation that unfurls con-current, infront of one.

This perhaps explains why some either at or around Ihumatao are seemingly focused upon re-litigating any number of previous skirmishes or outright conflagrations with the Police in particular, the Crown in general, or even overseas instances over which the Government of New Zealand has little, if any, connection let alone control.

And you know what? Leaving aside the ‘optics’ of the situation, that’s not entirely un-understandable. When you feel that you are bearing the weight of decades, centuries worth of marginalization, oppression, and the exact, axiomatic opposite of fair treatment by colonial authorities or post-colonial or settler states, there is not just a temptation to view everything through a kind of overarching-writ-large metanarrative of ‘us versus them’ taking place upon every corner of our nation’s history, and thence from there through much of the globe. There is an actual factual basis to it, as applies the fact that it’s often the debris of globe-spanning empires and significant coterminities of experience [and, for that matter, sodality, solidarity] that we are dealing with here.

But at the same time, it does need to be said that those who would hijack this particular cause in pursuit of a far broader agenda (especially that which can be basically summed up as F*#& the Police), run the significant risk of harming the otherwise enviably positive rapport which the Ihumatao preservation motive has built up within the wider NZ public.

It becomes a distraction; it becomes a degradation; it becomes even a vector – as we can see here with that video – of perpetuating *further* iniquities against those not exactly morally blameful for the actually-objectionable circumstances being protested against. Such as the verbal attack against that nondescriptively brown police officer on Monday night, who may have been born here or elsewhere – or may even have been of Maori descent himself. Who knows. I doubt anybody thought to check before shooting mouth off and into foot with reckless abandon.

In any case, my point is a simple one.

The Government is yet to remove digit and do something productive over the whole issue; and perhaps there are solutions which do *not* require the Prime Minister personally wading in, or remarks to that effect eventuating.

But, not just because the matter is ‘in train’ and public opinion appears to be swinging over to the pro-Ihumatao side .. but also because it’s the morally correct thing to do – it is *certainly* possible to keep pushing for the protection of the site in question *without* attempting to turn the whole thing into an anti-police conflagration.

Let us hope that cooler heads on the protest side prevail.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Kia ora Curwen
    I agree with the general thrust of your comment but would add
    1. The kaupapa of the occupation includes the phrase “whakaaro pai ki nga tangata katoa” and the vast majority of those at Ihumatao fully and willingly comply.
    2. Given that the kaupapa cannot be enforced, but relies entirely on influence and persuasion among a constant flux of people coming and going, it is almost inevitable that some individuals in the freedom camp will depart from the kaupapa.
    3. The regime has blatantly used racial and cultural differences to pursue a policy of divide and rule at Ihumatao. That does not excuse aggressive or xenophobic reactions from those in the freedom camp, but it does place this incident in context.
    Nga mihi

      • “Divide and rule” is a system used by British colonial administrations which encourages people to identify with their own ethnic group and then pits one ethnic group against another.
        Through the promotion of inter-ethnic rivalry or conflict, the governing authority avoids the risk of a united popular (non-ethnic or multi-ethnic) opposition to its policies.
        At Ihumatao the regime recruited a security force comprised entirely of recent Indian migrants to face down a group of protesters who are predominantly Maori but supported by a significant number of Pakeha and people of many other nationalities.
        So while the protectors of Ihumatao are building a multi-ethnic movement for social justice, the colonial regime first tried to turn the dispute into a “Maori vs Pakeha” argument, and when that tactic failed, tried to pit Indian migrants against native New Zealanders. That measure is also doomed to fail.
        In days gone by the British empire could use Fijians to police Indians, Malays to police Chinese, Sri Lankans to police Tamils, Greeks to police Turks – which always had a converse side in which Indians were used to economically undermine Fijians and so on.
        But the system of “divide and rule” no longer works so well in Aotearoa. The colonial regime is on a hiding to nothing if it even thinks it can get away with such cynical and manipulative tactics at Ihumatao.

        • Geoff Fischer: ““Divide and rule” is a system used by British colonial administrations which encourages people to identify with their own ethnic group and then pits one ethnic group against another.”

          Please: stop with this nonsense. Whatever British colonial admins did in the past, NZ hasn’t been a colony, de facto since the 19th century, de jure since the early 20th century. So: this country hasn’t been ruled by Britain since it instituted its first parliament in 1854.

          “….the colonial regime first tried to turn the dispute into a “Maori vs Pakeha” argument, and when that tactic failed, tried to pit Indian migrants against native New Zealanders. That measure is also doomed to fail.”

          Again: stop with the “colonial” nonsense. What you’re describing here just isn’t the case at Ihumatao. The local iwi, along with Fletcher, has asked the protesters to decamp; from what I’ve seen, Fletcher is – very wisely – keeping a low profile, given the sensitivities of the situation.

          The deployment of the police has got NOTHING to do with the government; surely you understand this at least? How often is it necessary to repeat this? The land is privately-owned; the situation has nothing to do with Treaty settlements. And nothing to do with the government.

          Given the numbers of Maori serving in the police, particularly in south Auckland, it’s likely that the local hierarchy decided to deploy officers of different ethnicities, in order to avoid potential tensions, and to spare them the more egregious stuff coming from the protesters. Although we’ve now seen how well that worked out, haven’t we?

          “But the system of “divide and rule” no longer works so well in Aotearoa. The colonial regime is on a hiding to nothing if it even thinks it can get away with such cynical and manipulative tactics at Ihumatao.”

          Christ…. It appears that you’re living partly in the past, and partly in some fantasyland. Note: government. There is no colonial regime. And note further: said government isn’t involved. That’s how our legal system works now; and – by the sound of it – thank god it does.

    • Geoff Fischer: “The regime has blatantly used racial and cultural differences to pursue a policy of divide and rule at Ihumatao.”

      I think that you need to elucidate. What is this “regime” to which you refer?

      I have paid attention to the reportage about what’s happening there: I’m yet to see this “divide and rule” you’re talking about here.

  2. The problem with our NZ police is too many of our Maori people have had bad experiences with them both current and historical including myself i find many of our police to be racist and they hold old stereo typical views about us.
    They tend to not use their discretion and if your brown you are more likely to be pulled over in your car, i know i have experienced it many times me and my partner and we don’t mixed words when they do this we don’t swear but we certainly tell them they are being racist maybe that is why they don’t like us cause we tell them straight they cant’ handle it so they take it out on us.

  3. The problem with our NZ police is too many of our Maori people have had bad experiences with them both current and historical including myself i find many of our police to be racist and they hold old stereo typical views about us.
    They tend to not use their discretion and if your brown you are more likely to be pulled over in your car, i know i have experienced it many times me and my partner and we don’t mixed words when they do this we don’t swear but we certainly tell them they are being racist maybe that is why they don’t like us cause we tell them straight they cant’ handle it so they take it out on us.

    • You sound pretty racist yourself Michelle. Apart from your own experiences you have no facts to substantiate what’s in your comment. Using wording like “ they tend not to use their discretion “ is just made up bullshit. There were plenty of “brown Police “ being verbally abused by Brown people at Ihumatao so your insinuations in this instance are shaky at best. As is your assumption that brown drivers get more attention than white. There are plenty of white drivers who feel they’ve had a bad experience after being pulled over including myself. You are up to your old tricks Michelle. Always playing the race card.

      • New view: “You are up to your old tricks Michelle. Always playing the race card.”

        Pretty much. It’s always somebody else’s fault; I’ve tired of it. It’s not worth the effort of responding to her. I’m done with it.

  4. The Unemployed movement of the 90s in particular, at least the activist section of it–“burn Shipley Burn!”, made strategic and tactical errors by concentrating on the Cops. Team Policing and beating activists and lying in Court did the cops no favours of course. But the Unemployed Movement battles with Cop front lines muddied the waters and basically destroyed much chance of wide practical unity between employed and unemployed workers.

    Māori Rights and Sovereignty struggles are different in specifics and historical roots, but when the protectors and supporters of Ihumātao can have singing Cops rather than “swinging Cops” they should choose the former! Of course if the political orders go out, no amount of goodwill will stop batons on bones.

    As Curwen points out, there is unprecedented middle class support from some quarters that should be courted to some degree.

    • Tiger Mountain: “….there is unprecedented middle class support from some quarters that should be courted to some degree.”

      The longer the shenanigans at Ihumatao continue, the less support there will be from the middle class. In virtue of what should anyone suppose that the pakeha – and non-Maori – middle class will continue to support people who bray about colonialism and fling gratuitous insults at immigrants?

      Good luck with that….

  5. NO….
    The NZ Police are armed,they fit the technical definition of a para military organisation.

    Dont let a pig with a guitar fool you,for every 1 with a guitar there are 1000 with weapons of war to kill you.

    And please remember these swine have sworn an oath to the Crown.

    It wont be long before they commit an atrocity at Ihumatao.

    The only way for the Crown to end the occupation is to engineer a situation where somebody is hurt or killed.
    Police Command are a bunch of colonial scum who operate independently of the central government,they are ‘rogue’.

    The way to deal with these pigs is by having the general public understand that the Black Power and the Mongrel Mob are more legitimate than the Crown.

    Many of the gang members have tribal connections to the historical grievances of the past and i feel this has influenced their decision to become gang members in the first place.

    These guys and girls know the Crown is a serious threat to freedom and so they have formed defensive organisations to protect themselves.

    The way to solve our so called gang culture problems is to run an inclusive society instead of embracing racist marginalisation policies,otherwise known as ‘divide and conquer’.
    We need to call up all of these gangsters and mobsters and ask them to please put their historical differences aside and stand for the people and the land.

    The gangsters can help to enforce the large scale land redistribution programme in Auckland.

    There will be some racist whites who will not leave peacefully,some fatal examples will need to be made during the reset and the gang community is qualified to conduct the type of extra judicial renditions that lets colonial white society know that the game has changed.

    The message is – show some respect or perish.

    This is not just about historical injustice at Ihumatao,it is about the fact that common life in New Zealand is an injustice.

    Ask these gang members,they all know of the injustices from personal experience and it had played a role in the criminalisation of their attitudes towards society.

    The mere existence of the Crown is causing intergenerational criminal tendencies in the general population,not just Maori,i have seen the hatred burning in the eyes of neglected white NZ too.

    Recently,some Auckland City Councillors have been at Ihumatao explaining to the people the corrupt nature of the situation and they have commented that when injustice is legal,there is no option but to break the law.

    We need to be having thousands and thousands of heavily armed resistance fighters joining the fray.

    The situation will turn violent for the following reason…

    While the intuitive among us know this is a civil war unfolding in front of the camera’s,many of those police out at the occupation site are still of the belief that they are there for crowd control purposes.

    Calling the independent gangster battalions to Ihumatao needs to happen before police commit an atrocity because the atrocity itself will be used to justify calling out the Army to impose Martial Law in the South Side.

    The Crown is running out of options,it knows SOUL is not just about land,its about the entire ‘situation’ here in NZ,which is the ‘situation’ of our entire world in micro.

    The people have lost their patience with the system that oppresses them.

    • Wow a call to civil war, using the drug pushing, violent gangs who have always been a beacon of morality, as the front line
      in your quest for the end of oppression,that’s a huge call to arms Joshua.
      Have you really thought about what your advocating here?

      • Im not saying it is a perfect scenario,it is in fact far from it…
        I know that the Crown cannot completely rely on the NZ Army or the Police to put down a large scale uprising because many among their ranks,especially in the Army,have family tribal connections and most others will not be comfortable fighting their own people in their own country.

        The Crown knows its best to use foreign troops for these types of civil suppression operations and as such it has been conducting ‘wargames’
        exercises with its regional partners recently,with the mock training scenario based around containing and detaining civil rights protestors.

        That’s a disturbing “wargame” when civil rights protesters are now the main target/Enemy of the State.

        It causes me to wonder what is really happening here.

        Given that i am aware of how the Crown prefers to proceed with this type of setback,of course i would like to see the gangs doing something useful with their resources.
        Being prepared to protect themselves from foreign aggression is something that the MM and BP have had to meet to discuss formally due to the incursion of the Australian Comanchero’s gang and others into NZ.

        We now have a situation where NZ’s two biggest gangs are considering forming a Union to increase firepower to deal with the incoming comanchero threat and that of the Mexican Cartels who have quietly entered a country who’s Police Force is unarmed by Mexican standards(no Helicopter Gunships,no tanks,just Armed Offenders Squad vs battle hardened Drug Warlords)

        The configuration of our main gangs can be used as a defence against more serious threats to our country.

        You would do well to remember that although many of these guys are violent criminals now,they were once innocent children,as were all of us.

        What did we allow to happen to our country that has resulted in the situation being as difficult as it is now?

        We let the Crown rule our lives when it was not fit to be in charge of London,let alone large swathes of the world.

        And on the issue of drug dealing Sir,don’t worry about the Black Power or the Mongrel Mob as they are small players on the global stage.

        Unlike the British Crown,which forced Opium addiction on the Chinese using 2 x violent Opium wars to open China up to the West.

        This is why Hong Kong and HSBC were important,it was the main City for British Drug Dealing and the main Bank for British Money Laundering of their Drug Money.

        This history is well known.

        So i am far more concerned with a drug dealing,land stealing,murderous British Crown that spreads Alcohol and Tobacco use among its captives than what i am with local gang members.

        Because i don’t trust the Crown due to its negative history and current conduct,there is no reason why i would want it to control the Government of New Zealand

        For one person to hold this view is irrelevant,but when tens of thousands of NZ citizens completely lose trust in Government,then we all have a problem on our hands…

    • Joshua: your comment is an egregious rant: an incitement to violence, even. I’m surprised that it got past the moderator, actually.

      “Calling the independent gangster battalions to Ihumatao needs to happen before police commit an atrocity because the atrocity itself will be used to justify calling out the Army to impose Martial Law in the South Side.”

      Somebody here read your comment over my shoulder. They remarked that it reads as if you’re – as the saying goes – on something. What on earth are you talking about? Atrocity? By the police? For heaven’s sake, man, this is NZ!

      On the other hand, if the crims get a foothold in there, who knows what’ll happen. Though judging by the history of gang conflict, they’re more likely to turn on each other than on anybody else.

      Pedro is right: you need to think very carefully about what you’re advocating here. You better hope that the SIS isn’t reading this blogsite.

  6. “….. it becomes even a vector – as we can see here with that video – of perpetuating *further* iniquities against those not exactly morally blameful for the actually-objectionable circumstances being protested against.”

    That would by no means be the first time I’ve heard anti-immigrant stuff from the mouths of Maori people. Those paying attention will have seen a bit of it here on this blogsite, in connection with various situations in which Maori are on the wrong side of the statistics. Apparently, their dire social situation is the fault of immigrants.

    I must point out that none of us is at fault over the current ownership status of Ihumatao; a fortiori the police – called upon by the iwi and Fletcher to protect the owners against attempts to prevent them from building on privately-owned land, as they have a consent to do.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, whatever any of us thinks about it, the ownership die was cast long before any of us was born. Moreover, none of us now alive was responsible for the large scale land alienation and confiscations of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    The woman who abused that police officer clearly saw nothing wrong with what she did, given that she posted the video on social media. Now she’s whining that what she said wasn’t racist: had somebody of another ethnicity – pakeha, for instance – said something equivalent to her, she’d have been to the Race Relations Commissioner quicker than you can say moko. In the normal course of events, I’d have come to her defence, but she’s been so disingenuous that I can’t be bothered. Stupid, stupid, stupid…..

    This has long since taken on a blame-the-pakeha tone on the part of the protesters. Since those who wish to overturn Fletcher’s rightful ownership of their land will – at the very least – need the moral support of many NZ citizens who are pakeha (or at least not Maori), it’d be a cracking good idea to stop with the blame-the-pakeha stuff, along with the anti-immigrant schtick!

  7. “Since those who wish to overturn Fletcher’s rightful ownership of their land will – at the very least – need the moral support of many NZ citizens who are pakeha (or at least not Maori), ”
    And the context of that “”rightful ownership””. Since when has stolen property become “rightfully owned” by the receiver.

    The war or words has a lack of substance.

    • John W: “And the context of that “”rightful ownership””. Since when has stolen property become “rightfully owned” by the receiver.”

      In this case; and in many others as well, both here and overseas. The Ihumatao case has been before the courts, and the status of the land affirmed. You and others may not like it, but there it is.

      Understand this: the initial confiscation in the 19th century was an injustice. But that is not the fault of the present-day descendants of the original owners; nor of Fletcher, which bought the land in good faith. Taking land off present-day owners, in an attempt to rectify a historical injustice, simply perpetrates another injustice, this time upon inoffensive citizens who weren’t born at the time of the original confiscation.

      Do you know how many people in this country – without a doubt including Maori – live on confiscated or stolen land? See this:

      https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/ihum-tao-protest-movement-has-based-its-campaign-misinformation-iwi-advocate?fbclid=IwAR3UEmtxu2Yl6JHt1i5nOhurMKF8QfCKPRUIa_WmTl0TIcCldiF9Xn9usSE

      “Pita Turei said: “The first thing we need to understand is that a million-and-a-half people in New Zealand live on stolen land”, adding that we “can’t change the rule book without a wider discussion”.”

      Exactly. Explain to me how return of all that stolen land could be accomplished without creating massive conflict? No prizes for guessing how Maori would react to having what they see as “their” land given back to another tribe. Consider what happened in the 19th century, in Rekohu, and in the musket wars around the same time. In virtue of what should we not suspect that Ihumatao was itself stolen by the 19th century inhabitants from previous inhabitants, possibly during the musket wars?

      If you want to see how disastrously such attempts at reparation can turn out, you could do worse than look at Zimbabwe. Or what’s currently brewing in South Africa.

  8. [Declined for publication. Repetitive, and already published elsewhere. Please do not ‘spam’ discussions with the same material/links. – Scarletmod]

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