Today in Wellington, Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa stormed parliament grounds and desecrated the statue of ‘King Dick’ (Richard Seddon), drawing attention to his major role in the colonisation and exploitation of Mãori land. Well known Nga Puhi and Muaupoko activist Josie Butler, ‘dildo thrower’, staunchly let off a flare on parliamentary grounds – symbolising the class war’flare’ perpetuated by colonisation. The group also targeted the plaque of Captain James Cook, expressing their continued discontent at the government’s commemoration of a perpetrator of atrocities and murderer of Maori people. The action was also in support of a nationwide coordination to counter the mainstream narrative of the heavily state-funded Tuia250 event.
As recorded in his own memoirs and according to tangata whenua across the nation, Cook circumnavigated Aotearoa intentionally killing, raping, and deliberately infecting local Maori with disease. The Endeavour replica, currently sailing around Aotearoa, is only a bitter reminder of colonialism that continues to oppress Maori today.
Kãi Tahu activist, Tiaho Nga Morehu, stated “colonisation in Aotearoa resulted from capitalism and industrialisation in Europe. The continued exploitation of people, land, and resources here in Aotearoa, and globally, has caused the social, climate, and ecological emergency we are all experiencing”.
Currently, Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa is working through a process of decolonisation, by review of the Extinction Rebellion 3 Demands and inclusion of a 4th Demand that indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and the impacts of colonisation be recognised by the government and peoples of Aotearoa. Additionally, that participation in a Citizens’ Assembly will not continue to disadvantage Mãori as the current democratic system does.
Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa rejects colonisation and acknowledges the pain and suffering of tangata whenua.
Richard Seddon “King Dick” served as the 15th Premier of New Zealand from 1893 until his death. He was described as ‘tyrannical’ and was well known for his promotion of New Zealand’s interests in the name of imperialism. He was a major player in the Native Land Purchase Acquisition Act, along with the Land for Settlements Act, and described his role with Maori as a “civilising mission”.
NB: at time of writing it is unknown if Josie Butler got arrested for her actions, but it is worth noting, that three Pakeha let off flares at the XR action yesterday, with absolutely no repercussions.