Racial Repression and Police Terrorism in New Zealand

An Innocent Warrior

Al Jazeera (2017)

Film Review

In 2007, after spying on them over an extended period, New Zealand police arrested charismatic Maori leader Tame Iti and his supporters in so-called “anti-terrorist” raids. The saga began when a police SWAT teams launched an assault on the families in Iti’s small rural community and established a massive blockade preventing all movement in and out of the region.

Iti and three other people (the “Urewera Four”) were accused of running a terrorist training camp and of being members of a criminal group. After the high court threw out the “terrorist” charges as being unlawful, the group were ultimately convicted of unlawful possession of firearms.

Filmed over seven years, the documentary follows Iti as he fights to clear his name. In a surprising turn, the government apologizes to his Ngai Tuhoe tribe for historical oppression – and the police apologize to Iti and his family.

The video can’t be embedded but can be viewed free at An Innocent Warrior

4 thoughts on “Racial Repression and Police Terrorism in New Zealand

  1. ” the documentary follows Iti as he fights to clear his name. In a surprising turn, the government apologizes to his Ngai Tuhoe tribe for historical oppression – and the police apologize to Iti and his family.”

    That is not enough. Those people who are native to New Zealand deserve political representation. They should not be completely ruled or governed by those who colonized their land. That is a gross absurdity! It is just as bad as what happened to the Indians in America and to the Aborigines of Australia. And nothing has been even attempted to set things right; quite the contrary. This just makes me boiling hot with rage!

    Like

  2. The racism is really entrenched here, Shelby. Racial hate speech has only become “legitimate” in the US with the advent of Trump. Here in NZ, it never really stopped. At the same time, there is an increasing awareness, especially among young Maori, of avenues for reclaiming their rights. For example, here in New Plymouth there are 42 public reserves claimed by local government that Maori hold legal title to – it’s a simple of matter of them taking the Council to court (with expenses paid by the national government). Several reporters have done articles about it in the local paper, and the paper (for some unknown reason) has no problem whatsoever publishing letters to the editor with unimaginably vile racial slurs. That being said, I continue to work with a local Maori elders group and we are really pleased to see young Maori beginning to fight for their rights on multiple fronts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s interesting how NZ always features high on lists of the least corrupt countries, the most transparent governments, the most liveable cities. My personal experiences revealed a darker side.

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    • Same here, Alan. This has really come home to me since we (Taranaki Energy Watch) have taken South Taranaki District Council to Environment Court over their failure to regulate fracking by foreign oil companies. It’s foreign businesses that rate a country’s corruption – and what they’re really talking about is regulation. In NZ regulation of environmental degradation by foreign companies is virtually non-existent.

      Liked by 1 person

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