Dispatches from Day 5 - Operation 8 Depositions Hearing
Outside of court the week ended with a bang. One of the kids turned six and so over lunch there was a birthday party outside courtroom 8. We had a cake, candles and party hats. The registrar (he who pronounces Tame to rhyme with 'same') muttered that there was no dignity in this court room. I'd say there was a lot of dignity in that court room - but not the sort the registrar would recognise.
As Friday was the last day of the week, and all the evidence is still suppressed, I thought I'd take some time to point out how much work goes into making it possible for all 18 defendants their whanau and supporters to come to court.
Te Tira Hou Marae has been an amazing base for the defendants. 13 of the defendants live outside of Auckland, and having accomodation, and a place to have hui has been vital. Defendants from outside Auckand have been able to come for a meal, and catch up on all the associating they've been forbidden from doing over the last ten months.
Feeding all the people who come to the marae has been done by an amazing team of cooks (and the curry for tomorrow night is already looking fantastic). Food is plentiful, thanks to all sorts of donations and fundraising efforts.
The lawyers have been doing a fantastic job. I know I wasn't the only person who was worried about how well they'd work together, but they've been really strong in court. They understand that this case is about more than just the law. One lawyer has a poster for the international day of action on his desk. Another brought a present to the birthday party.
Finally, one of the most important jobs has been looking after the children. There have been up to a dozen children at court and the marae. Looking after them at court is stressful. Volunteers have taken the older kids on expeditions around Auckland, making it that much easier on their parents. At the time of the raids the partner's of two of the defendants were pregnant. These women have now given birth to baby freedom fighters in the months since. The work of those women, and their whanau looking after babies in such a stressful time, needs special recognition.
A special thanks to everyone who has donated money or attended (and particularly organised) a fundraising event. The koha from all over the world has made this difficult time much less stressful. The court case isn't just about convictions, but about punishing the defendants, with endless appearances and oppressive bail conditions. By taking some collective responsibility for the costs of this, we are fighting back against the police (and if all of this has persuaded you to contribute you can here).
Liberated box report: The kids had been putting in some good work on Friday; the sign that was left said "Tuhoe Liberators not Terrorists".