White Supremacy and Islamophobia in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Dark Days

Al Jazeera (2019)

Film Review

This documentary examines New Zealand’s inglorious history of Islamophobia – something most Kiwis don’t want to talk about. A Somali migrant who works with refugees talks about battling threats from white supremacist skinheads his whole life. Christchurch, especially, is known as a hotbed of white supremacy. Last October, local Muslims found white supremacist graffiti at one of the mosques that was subsequently attacked.

Many in the Muslim community claim the New Zealand police has been totally dismissive of these threats – that they have been too busy monitoring Muslim migrants for possible terrorist ties to monitor white supremacists. Former US intelligence analyst (and 20-year resident of New Zealand) Paul Buchanan agrees. He’s skeptical the Christchurch shooter acted alone, given the large numbers of white supremacists who followed the livestream of the massacres – both in New Zealand and overseas.

Buchanan is also concerned about Islamophobic statements by Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki. The latter leads a Pentecostal sect with 10,000 followers in New Zealand and Australia. Tamaki has always maintained that Jesus is the only true God, that refugees who settle in New Zealand should accept this country’s religion. In 2005, he called the New Zealand Parliament “evil” for allowing an MP to take their oath of office on a Koran. He was also highly critical of the National Radio decision to play the Muslim call to prayer to honor slain Christchurch victims.

The film also reveals that two complaints were made to New Zealand police about the Dunedin gun club the Christchurch shooter attended. Visitors to the gun club were concerned about members wearing camouflage (equated here with militia activity), talk about NZ defense forces needing to shoot Muslim terrorists in the street, and references to New Zealand’s 1990 mass shooting at Aramoana (1990)

In both case, the police dismissed the complaints without acting on them.