NZ "terrorism" in perspective   |   Indigenous peoples' rights

Suppression of Terrorism or Oppression of Tangata Whenua

15 October 2007

Today we get news that Tame Iti has been arrested under the Suppression of Terroism Act and the media swings into action with all its sensationalist glory. We see Tame with guns, Tame on Protest, Tame spitting at Parliamentarians, but what we don't get is any facts, any reasons, any justification for his arrest or any analysis by the media of what reeks of another police set up of a Maori activist.

Its 100 years since the Tohunga Suppression Act, that too was an Act design to oppress and suppress Tangata Whenua, it was an act that sought to put an end to any following of healing or rongoa, it was an act that was designed to oppress and suppress matauranga Maori and any or all attempts by iwi to keep control of our own wellbeing. Sound familiar? Now 100 years later the Suppression of Terroism Act is used to silence Maori activism. With the arrest of Tame Iti a message is being sent to the wider Maori activist movement that under this Act the police can move in and remove your fundamental rights and in doing so there is no reason required.

The media machinery loves this. We see TV3 and TV1 in full flight, including camera's giving 'exclusive' footage of a raid on a wellington house. What is that? How do the media get to be on raids with the cops? What better way than to ensure that the police propaganda machine works than to have your own 'objective' (read and laugh) television journalist in tow. How pathetic is our media that they buy in to such tactics, but hey - gives a good taste of realism!! The fact there is no actual 'evidence' is a minor issue, right?

Accusations of terrorism are not new to the Maori activist community. Many of our great leaders have been accused of being terrorists and imprisoned for acts of resistance to colonial rule. The Suppression of Terrorism Act is another colonisers tool to imprison those that question the legitimacy of colonial rule.

Leonie Pihama

Action Alerts | What's on where | How PMA can help you | Join PMA | Home page