Solicitor-General urged to drop case against Urewera 18

Call of Solicitor-General to Stay Case against Urewera 18

Solicitor-General David Collins has been urged to exercise his discretion to stay the proceedings against the Urewera 18 who are due to face trial in early May, more than three and a half years after their arrest in police raids on 15 October 2007.

The request came in a letter co-sponsored by lawyers Moana Jackson of Ngati Kahungunu and Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland. It was endorsed by over 150 prominent Maori, academics and social justice campaigners.

“The accused, their whanau and the whole of Tuhoe have had this hanging over them for almost four years, unable to live a normal life. They already carry the label of ‘terrorists’ forever”, Moana Jackson said.

“Now they face the human and financial costs of a twelve week trial in Auckland. To achieve what? To vindicate the police’s anti-terrorism powers and the waste of millions of dollars trying to prove there was some terrorist plot based in Tuhoe?”, Mr Jackson asked.

“The situation is totally out of hand. The Solicitor-General needs to step in and bring the whole wretched episode to a close, as they did with the Bastion Point prosecutions in 1978.”

Professor Kelsey observed that “The efficiency of the court system has already been put ahead of their right to trial by jury. This is not a clinical, technical case; it requires people’s common sense about what was actually going on”.

“The right to a jury trial is fundamental to this case. And if the publicity means there can’t be an untainted jury, as the Solicitor-General himself said in the contempt case against Fairfax and the Dominion Post,[1] then the Crown needs to stay the proceedings.”

“The credibility of the justice system is at stake”, said Professor Kelsey.


Ma wai e tautoko?

Ma wai e tautoko e,
Te huarahi mo te iwi Maori e?
Puputia nga whakaaro e,
E nga upoko ariki e

Aue, kia manawanui
Kia tupato i nga tini whakawai
A te hiriwa e kapakapa ake nei
Nga iwi e - Ina

Who will support
The cries of the Maori
Unity in thought and discussion is needed
Our great leaders

Be vigilant
Be not tempted by the lures
Of flashing riches
My people, hear my plea!

Written by Tuini Ngawai.

Brisbane Rally 20th anniversary of royal commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody


FMG Great Native Title Swindle

Caught in the act - this is a record of a supposed 'native title' meeting staged by the iron ore miner, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG). It shows how FMG, its agents, a lawyer and an opportunist splinter faction tried to destroy the unity of the Yindjibarndi people and give open slather to FMG for its Solomon Hub project. The video demonstrates the unscrupulous actions of a miner trying to bully traditional owners into a land use 'Agreement' that will see massive disturbance of country and will swindle several generations of Yindjibarndi people

See Also:

Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation


Solidarity From Taranaki: Stop Deep Sea Oil Drilling

"Climate Justice Taranaki sends a message of solidarity to the people of the East Coast who are, with the help of environmental groups, successfully stopping a deep sea seismic survey in the Raukumara Basin" says Climate Justice Taranaki spokesperson Teresa Goodin.

"The brave actions taken out at sea are the result of months of organising by East Coast iwi and environmental organisations like Greenpeace, C350, Forest and Bird, Board Riders Against Drilling and the Coal Action Network of Aotearoa. We are looking forward to such actions taking place here in Taranaki where seismic surveying is happening right now, as oil and gas companies' try to majorly expand drilling on and offshore."

"Our group is opposed to the massive expansion of oil and gas exploration in New Zealand because of the increased risks of further oil spills, soil and water contamination and the contribution to climate change."

"The actions taken by the people of the East Coast are an inspiration to us and many others around the globe. We will continue to organise here towards the longterm goal of a fossil-fuel free Taranaki. On April 20th, the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, We are holding a rally in New Plymouth to further raise awareness in the community." concludes Teresa Goodin.


Haere Atu Petrobras

This Ngeri was written at the request of Ani Pahuru-Huriwai in protest of the PETROBRAS hui called at Hinerupe marae. It was completed on the 6th of April 2011. It focuses on the power of unity in challenging times and in times of hardship. It calls for all people to unite and together, overcome adversity.

Here are the kupu and whakapākeha.

Kekē-pōhatu... kekē tī kekē!
Kekē-pōhatu... kekē tī kekē!
Kekē tī Kekē-pōhatu hurihuri, hau-kauangaroa,
Katakata te Raukūmara ā haha!
Aha, Hiti tā-hiti... kekē tī kekē!
Hiti tā-hiti... kekē tī kekē!

The stones rattle,
The stones rattle,
The stones rattle and turn, coming together to create crossings through vast waters
With a rumbling that echos through the Raukūmara
Build the stones high, let them rattle,
Build the stones high, let them rattle!
Na Robert Ruha i tito.

Callout for global support and solidarity : Maori communities face off with Petrobras over drilling permit

Your support and solidarity is urgently needed!
Tino Rangatiratanga Flag : symbol of Maori self determination which embraces the spiritual link Māori have with Papatuanuku (Earthmother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous people for self determination.

1. Contact media in your country, write a press release supporting the communities in New Zealand that are threatened by mining activities and supporting their efforts to defend themselves. International media coverage is needed to put pressure on Petrobras and the New Zealand government NOW.
2. Use this information to alert your colleagues, networks and members of your organisation to what is happening in New Zealand through email lists, newsletters, magazines, bulletins etc.
3. Send a message of global support and solidarity to nodrillnz@gmail.com. Let these communities know that they are not alone, and that they are a part of a global movement for climate justice.
4. Consider taking action against Petrobras in your own country as a way of supporting what is happening here, and building links between your organisation or community fighting Petrobras [or other extractive companies] and the communities of Aotearoa threatened by fossil fuel exploration projects.


On the 1st June 2010, just 42 days after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and 44 days before the well was capped, Brazilian company Petrobras was awarded by The New Zealand Government a five year exploratory license for oil and gas in the Raukumara Basin, situated in the East Cape / Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The license starts from a mere 4 kilometres offshore and goes out to 110 km. The granted permit area is 12,330 sq km. The New Zealand government sees just 6% of the profit Petrobras makes. If the project goes ahead, Petrobras will bring in their own workforce and maybe offer a few short term jobs.
The area for exploration is the traditional fishing grounds of indigenous peoples from the tribes and sub-tribes of Te Whānau-a-Apanui and Ngāti Porou. There was no prior consultation with these communities whatsoever.
The New Zealand National Party was elected in 2008 to lead a coalition government that has been committed to opening up the land and sea around the country for oil, gas and other minerals extraction in the interests of national economic development. A policy to mine pristine conservation lands was abandoned in 2010 when huge public opposition, supported by many environmental organisations, expressed widespread opposition to the plan, however, the areas remaining open to exploitation cover an area 42 times greater than that which is currently being mined, across most of Aotearoa.
A visit from a vessel contracted to Petrobras is expected to arrive off the East Cape on the weekend of the 2nd-3rd of April 2011. In response to a call to oppose deep sea oil drilling from East Cape iwi (tribe) Te Whanau a Apanui, a flotilla of ships is to set sail from Auckland, for the East Cape to confront the exploration vessel. People are being asked to light fires on the beaches and hui (meetings) are being called along the coast to mobilise the communities on land.
BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill superimposed on to the Raukumera permit zone
The Raukumara Basin sits on a major and active fault line. In a high seismic activity area such as the Raukumara Basin there is an extremely high possibility that there would be damage to any sub-sea installations (wells, pipe lines) in the probable event of an earth quake. The exploration area regularly experiences +4 or +5 magnitude quakes and lies on the same faultline as the one that recently devastated the South Island city of Christchurch.
The massive oil and gas spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which took three months to cap and spilled millions of barrels of oil, was an exploratory drill. The depth of the exploratory drill
in the Gulf of Mexico was 1500 metres. In the Raukumara Basin proposed depths range from 1500 metres to 3000 metres, yet NZ has almost no capacity to deal with a major spill and has no adequate or enforceable means of compensation. It is entirely unknown what impacts the 240db sonic booms shot from the exploration vessel during the 2d seismic exploration phase will have on aquatic life, particularly regarding marine mammals. The area is at the heart of a well documented whale migration route.
The region’s history revolves around the moana (sea) and the Iwi (Maori tribes) have many stories that speak of the cultural and spiritual significance of the sea. It holds some of the most central and important history of the iwi threatened by Petrobras’s search for hydrocarbons and profit on behalf of its shareholders.
For as long as the Maori communities of the East Cape can remember, their daily lives, tikanga (customs) and whakapapa (ancestry) have been connected to the sea. “The sea is forever in our lives” says coastal community member Ora Barlow of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui.
The CO2lonisation of Aotearoa

Petrobras has recently become the third biggest petroleum company in the world after implementing the largest share offer in the history of capitalism, specifically to raise funds for offshore oil exploration at a time when the world stands on the brink of runaway climate change and global oil reserves are peaking. Increasingly dan
gerous extraction projects are becoming more commonplace in an industry desperate to maintain its grip on the world’s energy systems. As a result, communities most directly affected by the exploitation of fossil fuel reserves are facing unprecedented levels of risk as these companies target what they call ‘unconventional’ fossil fuel reserves.
The New Zealand government has given permission to a foreign company, with an abhorrent social and environmental record the permission to threaten these coastal communities without any prior consultation whatsoever. An oil spill will mean nothing less than cultural genocide for a region that has managed to maintain a great deal of its traditionally cared for land and traditional knowledge of environmental management against all odds. Toka Tū Moana is their renowned phrase (whakatauakii) that declares steadfastness and resilience, standing firm and unshakeable, despite adversity. A great deal of effort is made within these communities to maintain knowledge of traditional environmental management and many programmes are underway to transition these communities back towards states of true community resilience. “Our tipuna (ancestors) practised sustainable living, we can do it too, they relied on whanaungatanga (collective living), and so do we.” – Ani Pahuru-Huriwai, Ngati Porou
However, an oil spill, and climate change itself may well wipe out the entire coastal community’s ability to maintain whatever level of traditional food sovereignty and self sufficiency they have left.

When the government announced their awarding of this permit to Petrobras, local Maori symbolised their opposition to the plans of Petrobras and the New Zealand government by lighting fires along their coastline. Ms Pahuru-Huriwai of Ngati Porou (one of the closest communities to the permit area) said. “This is the way we all informed each other, signalled each other way back – through fire. In this case we’re saying that it’s Petrobras that we’re all against.”.“It’s a serious threat to us and our kapata kai (food cupboard). It’s not just a Maori thing either – we think every Kiwi (New Zealander) has an issue with it. Everyone who is scared of what’s happening, they need to be here.”
Several months later and with no sign of Petrobras or the New Zealand government changing their plans, a music festival under the banner of ‘Stop The Drilling!’ was held in Te Kaha, a region adjacent to the permit area. One and a half thousand people showed up to show their support, dwarfing the resident population of that particular tribal
area. Crowds shouted ‘Stop the Drilling!!’ and spoke of defending their community from attack by sea.
Petrobras have approached local runanga (tribal leaders) and have entered into a process of communication with them. The runanga have communicated to Petrobras the position of the communities that no consent will be given to Petrobras to follow through with the project. Preparations have been made by Iwi leadership to apply for a judicial review of the decision made to grant the permit, and for communication with the United Nations while local Maori have, with support from environmentalists, fishermen and others, established the Ahi Ka Action Group to campaign for a revocation of the permit and a decision not to explore the area.
The Ahi Ka Action Group have distributed 20,000 flyers to raise public awareness of the situation, they have established a basic website and have lobbied local authorities to throw their weight behind efforts to prevent exploration and extraction activities in the permit area. The group has been linking up with individuals and groups in other parts of Aotearoa and overseas who are under threat from mining in their area. A national networking and information sharing website is under development at: www.nodrilling.org.nz

Petrobras has contracted a vessel to undertake the first stage of seismic testing in the Raukumara permit area and this work is due to start in March 2011.


With such a massive proportion of land and sea being opened up to mining companies, communities across the country are getting ready to defend themselves.
On the West coast of the North Island communities of Taranaki are also under attack from land and sea with 13 new onshore/coastal permits and 15 new offshore permits being handed out by the government. Parihaka, a settlement of huge cultural and historical significance  which In the 1870s and 1880s became the centre of a major campaign of non-violent resistance to European occupation of confiscated land in the area is already surrounded by oil and gas exploration projects and is now facing even more. The company Greymouth Petroleum is focus­sing on northern to central Taranaki while companies Kea Petroleum, TAG Oil, Green Gate, L&M Energy and Todd Energy are targeting the rest of inland eastern and southern Taranaki. There is a great deal of concern surrounding the increased use of hydraulic fracturing to access oil and gas reserves in this area, a highly dangerous extraction process recently banned in some places in of the United States.
Down South, government-owned Solid Energy and other coal companies want to mine massive quantities of lignite, a low-quality brown coal, that lies under Southland farmland. They plan to turn it into briquettes, urea fertiliser, and synthetic diesel. At least 6.2 billion tonnes of lignite is technically and economically recoverable in 10 major deposits in Otago and Southland. The in-ground lignite resource is approximately 11 billion tonnes. A wide range of local and national groups are gearing up to stop these developments.

Up North, permits for a wide range of minerals, including gold are spurring communities into defensive action and communities are linking up with one another and a national level movement is coalescing to stop the drilling across the country.


Of course, this isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, Petrobras and the fossil fuel industry in general has a long and bloody history of threatening the very existence of communities in order to access fossil fuel reserves. “it’s an international issue and we have to make sure our local support is strong and then globalise” – Ora Barlow, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui

While politicians fiddle around in flailing international negotiations to halt runaway climate change, their hands tied behind their backs by the most powerful consortium of companies the world has ever known, these communities, and others directly impacted by the root causes and impacts of the climate crisis are successfully standing together and defeating them in their own back yards.
“We must stand united with other hapu, other iwi, other New Zealanders who care about the environment. We must keep pressure on our government to wake up and show some long-term leadership, make Aotearoa a Renewable Energy Country, no longer reliant on Fossil Fuels like oil & gas, that the human race is quickly exhausting. We are a nuclear free country; we need to be a fossil fuel free country too!” – Ani Pahuru-Huriwai, Ngati Porou

“We must support those who carry this kaupapa for us to the international stage. We must unite with other indigenous peoples and learn from their experiences.” – Ani Pahuru-Huriwai, Ngati Porou
As the case of the BP oil spill and those lower income communities hit hardest by hurricane Katrina illustrates, the communities most vulnerable to environmental destruction are also those most
susceptible to the climate crises. Those hit first and worst are most often the least responsible for the crisis yet are actively leading the fight against major climate polluters. They require globalised support and solidarity in defending their answers to an ecological crisis which they have not caused or reaped untold profits from.

Te Whanau a Apanui spokeswoman Dayle Takutimu has called on the whole country to support their stand, at a time when seismic surveying by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is expected to begin off the Cape.

“We are resolute in our defence of our ancestral lands and waters from the destructive practice of deep sea oil drilling. This is an issue for all peoples of New Zealand and we call on those who support our opposition to stand with us in defence of what we all treasure,” she says.

Contact : climatejusticeaotearoa@riseup.net for global climate justice movement related contact on the situation


No Disrespect! Say No in Plural to the 'say no to burqas' Mural

Come to an exhibition to create opposition and alternatives to the 'say no to burqas' mural in Newtown: a visual, aural and sensory display of creative dissent!
  • Friday 6th of May, 6pm:  Opening night, featuring music and performances including Rimi aka Soul Beats
  • Saturday 7th of May, 2pm: Panel discussion on race, difference, feminism and the burqa in Sydney and perfomance by Fear of a Brown Planet
 Newtown Neighbourhood House, Opposite the Newtown Train Station
 No Disrespect is collaboratively hosted by the Justice and Arts Network, Muslim Youth of Sydney and Cross Border Sydney

Contact: crossborder.sydney@gmail.com
 Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=205726962787413

NIPS welcomes abandonment of patent application involving SI samples

The Network of the Indigenous Peoples-Solomons (NIPS) welcomes the abandonment of a US patent application that uses genetic samples from Solomon Islanders, in a case that raises major ethical questions.

According to the USPTO’s Patent Application Information Retrieval system, US based lawyers representing Taiwanese scientist, Dr. Ko Ying-Chin filed an express abandonment application on April 01st, 2011 at 2:53pm EDT for the patent application number US20100248253.

The express abandonment was subsequently processed by the USPTO on April 4th, 2011 and now the status of the US patent application is listed as “expressly abandoned (during examination).”
Effectively, the patent application is now stopped. This patent application entitled “Method and Kit for Assessing Risk of Gout and Hyperuricemia,” uses samples from 192 Solomon Islanders,
collected at the National Referral Hospital and two clinics in Guadalcanal Province during a research trip led by Dr. Ko in September 2006.

Dr. Ko and his colleagues only abandoned the patent application after NIPS, along with other non-governmental organizations in the Solomon Islands, began to publicly challenge it. The basis of this challenge was Dr. Ko’s failure to obtain proper informed consent from the blood donors for such commercialization.

The informed consent given by blood donors in September 2006 was limited to medical research uses, and contained no mention of using the samples for patenting and other commercial purposes.

NIPS emphasizes the patent application which used the blood samples from unknowing indigenous Solomon Islanders clearly involved serious ethicalbreaches on the part of the Taiwanese medical researcher and three of his colleagues who were listed as patent applicants.

This    Non-Government    Organization    says    whilst    it    welcomes    the abandonment, it is still eager to receive a reply from Dr. Ko on questions that need be answered including whether any cell lines of the Solomon Islanders were immortalized, and if any samples were shared with
other researchers or institutions in Taiwan and abroad.

The NIPS adds that it further welcomes Dr Ko’s response in mid-March – communicated through the Embassy of Taiwan in Honiara - where he states, he samples will be repatriated to the Solomon Islands.
The NIPS also hopes all the samples will be repatriated soon, including any immortalized cell lines. Furthermore, given the severity of the ethical breeches and violations of Solomon Islanders’ rights, the NIPS considers it critical that Ko respect a ban on any further publications and patent applications that use data from the indigenous blood samples from Solomon Islanders.

The NIPS states it gave a letter to Taiwanese officials during a March 31 2011 meeting at the Taiwanese Embassy in Honiara. This letter discussed pressing issues related to the patent application, including the abandonment of the application.

NIPS President, Mr Donald Marahare, Coordinator Graham Vahia and officer Meffrey Poenjili look forward to cooperating with the ROC Embassy’s First Secretary Mr Thomas Tsai, who will be mediating between responsible authorities in Taiwan and Honiara on this matter.

NIPS reiterate that the Solomon Islands Government must recognise the significance of this case and come up with legal instruments to safeguard its own indigenous citizens from any future biopiracy of human genetic materials and biological resources.

“The 1995 successful blocking of a patent application using genetic materials from Indigenous Solomon Islanders filed for patent application by the US Government’s National Institute of Health coupled with this episode involving Taiwanese researchers acquiring genetic materials from
Solomon Islanders, are timely wake-up call to take effective measures to protect Indigenous Solomon Islanders from any future repeat of genetic materials biopiracy.”

NIPS also acknowledges the cooperation it received from the Solomon Islands Research and Ethical Committee, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Mark Munsterhjelm from the University of Windsor in Canada, Ms Neth Dano of the ETC Group, Mr Fiu Elisara of Samoa and all the other resourceful individuals who have assisted with this matter.