Wellington's protests 'a sad day for Aotearoa'

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Noel Woods, a former Te Upoko o te Ika FM staffer, says when he saw from the Children’s Commissioner office the protestors being pushed off the front steps of Parliament by the police, it was “a sad day for Aotearoa”.

“[There’s been] nothing brutal like this since the Springbok tour back in 1981. Maybe Ihumātao might have seen some of this but nothing like these events.”

Woods says many listeners have mixed thoughts about protestors clashing with police.

“I’ve got whānau members from both sides of the fence, and our iwi was clear.

“Most protestors who arrive in Te Whanganui-a-Tara usually liaise with local iwi. Of course, even within our iwi, our whānau have differing views and I suppose it’s all about respecting each other’s choices and views and still sharing that aroha, just like our iwi who laid “Te Kahu o te Raukura” at Pipitea Marae to bring peace to our rohe.

“Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case yesterday. The police and even some of the protestors didn’t quite reflect that, so [we’re] sending the raukura to all those who got hurt, to all our front liners. We just heard from the Māori Wardens who were on the front line helping. It would have been a tough situation for the Police as well.”

With Omicron continuing to spread across the country, Woods has two cousins who have māuiui.

“They’re going live on their Facebook page just to showcase to everyone what they’re going through. They’re double vaxxed, they’re boosted as well, so it can happen to anyone.”

Te Whanganui-a-Tara is showcasing the Te Rā o te Raukura event, which has been held for more than 27 years, which Woods says is “fitting” for the city.

“It’s an annual festival run at Waiwhetū Marae.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold it physically, so we’ve created an online series that launched a couple of weeks ago.”

“It’s all about sharing the whakaaro and kaupapa of the Raukura, also our hononga to Parihaka ki te Tai Hauāuru, and just to think: If Te Whiti and Tohukākahi were still alive, would things have still been different yesterday?”

The episodes, one of which is launching next week, are being shared across the Te Āti Awa Facebook page, with one episode available to view now.