Activists to occupy Te Papa; demand Te Tiriti replacement

By Te Ao - Māori News

Above: Extinction Rebellion (XR) Photo / File

Environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion and members of Te Waka Hourua say they will enter and occupy Te Papa Museum in Pōneke this afternoon.

The groups are demanding Te Papa replace the English version of Te Tiriti o Waitangi with a new ‘accurate translation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840’.

“Te Tiriti has not been represented honestly, or with integrity.” Says Te Waka Hourua member Te Wehi Ratana.

“Visitors to Te Papa may not know that they are looking at two different documents: Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which is the internationally recognised version, and the Treaty, the English version.”

The group say they will occupy the museum for 181 minutes, representing the 181 years since Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed.

Extinction Rebellion whose stated aim is motivating government action on climate change says Te Tiriti is an ‘inseparable part’ of the nation’s response to climate change.

An extinction rebellion protest on Tāmaki's Queen Street

Above: An extinction rebellion protest on Tāmaki's Queen Street Photo / File

“Indigenous peoples’ social values, and knowledge and practices about local ecological management, are vital for biodiversity regeneration, and greenhouse gas reduction and sequestration,” said Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn.

“failure to fully recognise and implement Te Tiriti is a barrier to enabling tangata whenua to meaningfully apply these values, knowledge and practices in a climate mitigation and adaptation context.” She said.

The group says the government has illustrated the lengths it is willing to go for protection against covid and demand the same for the climate.

"The question now is, what steps will it make to respond to the climate crisis that could wipe out nearly all life on this planet?" said Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa member Jen Olsen.

The New Zealand Police say they are aware of the protest and are monitoring the situation.

‘Police recognise everyone's lawful right to protest’ they said.

Te Papa Museum says they respect protestor’s rights to have their voices heard but they hope the groups will ‘observe government guidelines’ to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Extinction Rebellion, or 'XR' has gained notoriety for blockading McDonalds’ factories in the UK to demand the firm become meat-free.

In 2019 Aotearoa XR protesting against Oil and Gas brought Pōneke traffic to a standstill, while in Ōtepoti in March they blocked tracks to prevent trains carrying coal from departing.

The group is championed by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, although earlier this month its British founder was criticised for saying he'd block ambulances with dying patients onboard, to get the group’s message across.