This richly illustrated book brings together over 350 objects made by protesters to proclaim and symbolise their causes and their struggles. From armbands to banners, t-shirts to tea towels, and posters to photographs, it is a vivid reflection of almost 200 years of resistance and persistence.
Aotearoa New Zealand has a long history of activism. War, racism, threats to the environment, and battles for womenâ€™s rights and to retain public services have all drawn us out onto the streets, to sign petitions and to wear badges.
PROTEST TAUTOHETOHE Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams and Puawai Cairns
PREFACE 06 PROTEST, REMEMBER AND SURVIVE 10 COLLISIONS 18 WAR 48 ANTI-NUCLEAR PROTEST 98 MANA MOTUHAKE 126 ANTIAPARTHEID 166 WOMEN & PROTEST 212 LGBTQI+ PROTEST 250 CIVIL RIGHTS 270 CLASS & ECONOMIC PROTEST 314 ENVIRONMENT 354 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 398 NOTES 400 SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 404 ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS 406 INDEX 408
Heke fells the flagstaff at Kororareka, 1908. By Arthur David McCormick. Alexander Turnbull Library (A-004-037).
Flagstaff stump, circa 1840. Auckland Museum (NN030).
The infamous Ngāpuhi leader Hōne Heke Pōkai was born at Pakaraka, in the Bay of Islands, in the early nineteenth century. When he was young, Heke was known as a diligent pupil at the Kerikeri Church Missionary Society mission school, which he attended in 1824 and 1825. After his baptism in 1835, Heke gained a deep understanding of the scriptures, and maintained a close relationship with the Church Missionary Society, particularly with Henry Williams, although their relationship was, at times, rather fraught. In 1840, Lieutenant Governor William Hobson came to the Bay of Islands in the hope that a treaty could be signed that would extend the sovereignty of the British Crown to New Zealand. Heke became the first of forty-five influential northern rangatira to sign the Māori version of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. However, in the following years he and other Māori were to become despondent at the increasing influence of British law in New Zealand, to the point where it was usurping tikanga Māori and Māori ways of life. A mere few years after signing Te Tiriti, Heke considered that the contract signed between Māori and the Crown was not being upheld. The British flag became the symbol for this dissolution of tino rangatiratanga, and as early as 1844 his second in command, Te Haratua, led a party to Kororāreka to cut the flagpole down. The flagpole was reinstated before being cut down twice more by Heke himself in January 1845. (The unassuming piece of wood above is thought to be part of that flagpole.) In response, it was fortified and a battery placed nearby. Despite all this, Heke, with the support of Kawiti and Te Kapotai hapū, managed to cut down the flagpole for a fourth and final time in March 1845. This prompted widespread fighting in Kororāreka, and was the catalyst for the fighting that followed throughout Northland. The image of Heke cutting down the flagpole endures to this day and can be mistaken as a powerfully simple activist moment against the Crown by Heke and his followers. However, Heke and his relationships with other Māori and government and Church forces were much more complicated than the image allows. Heke enjoyed close relationships with many missionaries, including Henry Williams and Richard Davis, and he remained in communication with Governor George Grey. He also maintained influence over his own people, on whose behalf he continued to lobby the government, his enduring aim being that Māori maintain their tino rangatiratanga.
Mural, posters and signs at Ihumātao, 2019. Makers unknown. Photographed by Qiane MatataSipu. Private collection. ‘Hikoi for Ihumātao poster’, 2019. Illustrated by Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho. Private collection.
Stand for land
Ihumātao is one of the last original remaining liveable papakāinga in Auckland, and a site of early and continuous settlement. It has been the site of protest since 2015 following development plans by a major housing development company, Fletcher Residential, to develop high-density housing on the land prompted by the housing crisis in Auckland. In 1863, Governor George Grey issued a proclamation that required Māori living in the Manukau district and on the Waikato frontier to take an oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria and surrender weapons to a Government office. Those who refused were warned to retire into the Waikato beyond the Mangatāwhiri stream. This signalled the beginning of the Waikato Invasion and the loss of land holdings across the wider Waikato area. The story of Ihumātao protest is one which starts with the confiscation of blocks of land following Grey’s proclamation and retaliation for the widespread support that the communities across Waikato and modern South Auckland gave to the Kiingitanga. The protest and occupation are still in progress, led by a group of whānau from Ihumātao village, to hold onto their whenua against the ongoing appetite for land.
Compulsory military training was reintroduced in 1949, following the Second World War, and continued until 1959; it was then reconfigured from 1961 to 1972 as national military service. Many New Zealanders were opposed to compulsory military training, but a referendum held in 1949 narrowly voted to keep it. Against the backdrop of the Vietnam War (1959–75), the Organisation to Halt Military Service (OHMS) formed in 1971 to resist compulsory military training for young men. National military service ceased in 1972. I refuse
Red paint is splattered like blood across this registration form for national military service (opposite). A blue peace symbol decorates a conscientious objector’s burnt registration card (above right). These are particularly striking examples of the many defaced and damaged documents sent to the Department of Labour in 1972 in the hope of overloading its system for processing registrations for military service, and to drive home the contempt felt by potential conscripts. To further clog the system, resisters also posted large numbers of false registration forms, sometimes in the names of well-known politicians, including Prime Minister Keith Holyoake. The National government had introduced selective military service in 1961. It was not as draconian as compulsory military training and no one was conscripted for service during the Vietnam War. However, resistance to military service grew during the 1960s, coinciding with opposition to New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The most visible and coherent protest group was the Organisation to Halt Military Service (OHMS), formed by students at Victoria University in Wellington in November 1971 to coordinate opposition to national military service and support conscientious objectors. Branches were formed at all the universities and in smaller centres. These were the last of a long tradition of resisters to compulsion and conscription in New Zealand. OHMS advocated breaking the law and called for nineteenyear-olds to refuse to register for military service, and to burn, deface or return their registration cards, avoid medical examinations and refuse to attend training sessions or camp.
Defaced national military service forms, 1971–72. By anonymous makers. Archives New Zealand (LW2612 Box 4 24/1/50).
Anti-weapons conference stencilled graffiti in Wellington, 2015. Designed by Peace Action Wellington. Photographs by Michael Hall (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa).
Many New Zealanders have been and continue to be concerned about any involvement in military weapons and overseas conflicts. These graffiti stencils co-opt two different graphic strategies: above, a toy soldier has come to life, breaking his weapon across his knee. On the left, the double meaning of ‘making a killing’ brings dark humour to the repurposed cartoon of a suited businessman against a scene of war zone devastation.
A flotilla of Peace Squadron protesters meets the submarine USS Haddo and police in Auckland harbour, January 1979. Photograph by Gil Hanly. Courtesy of Gil Hanly.
Peace Squadron pennant, 1975–76. Designed by Jim Keogh. Gift of Andrew Peacocke, 2018. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH018238).
This pennant at right, with its sails moving across the international radiation warning symbol, flew from the masts of the Peace Squadron, set up by Anglican minister the Reverend George Armstrong in October 1975 to meet all nuclear-powered and/or -armed warships visiting New Zealand ports. Squadrons in Auckland, Wellington and Lyttelton featured all manner of seagoing vessels – powerboats, sailboats, dinghies, canoes, kayaks and surf sailers. Many dramatic scenes played out in harbours around New Zealand until the Labour government banned all visits by nuclear vessels in 1984. Armstrong recalled that ‘bobbing around on the ocean you’ve got a lot of opportunities’ for protest action.2 Even though there were risks in getting too close to the huge naval vessels, Armstrong said he was never as scared as he was during the Springbok tour protests in 1981. Artist Pat Hanly painted several ‘No Nuclear Ships’ banners in his back garden like the one overleaf; they flew from Peace Squadron masts during port visits by the United States Navy in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Display of badges, 1980s. Various makers. Gift of the Peace Foundation Disarmament and Security Centre, 2009. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH020698).
This strip of badges pinned to hessian shows how the New Zealand Peace Foundation sold protest and peace badges in New Zealand during the 1980s and 1990s. Thousands of such badges were made and shared by anti-nuclear and peace movements around the world. Badges play an important role in protest culture – they are cheap to make, easy to distribute and sell, and wearable on any article of clothing. They are small enough to be relatively unthreatening, and can slip beyond dramatic protests into everyday life more easily than larger objects. Badges transmit ideas and causes, and help people create their own protest identities. Their symbols and slogans can be powerful reminders of issues and concerns in society. When Ken Thomas gave his large collection of protest and peace badges to Te Papa, he felt that badges were the ‘best way to keep memory alive’.4
‘Stop French Testing’ badge, early 1980s. Produced by Greenpeace. Gift of Mark Strange, 1989. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH003650/20). ‘You Can’t Sink A Rainbow’ badge, 1985. Produced by Greenpeace. Gift of Ken Thomas, 2008. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH011822). CND badge, 1990s. Design by Gavin Patterson; made by Rainbow Copy. Gift of anonymous donor, 2017. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH025203).
Design on peace
Greenpeace made the badge at top right to protest against French nuclear weapon testing. The image rewards close inspection: it combines the French flag, and its patriotic colours of blue, white and red, with a mushroom cloud blasting the palm trees of a Pacific atoll – usually an alluring holiday scene of paradise. Although they are among the smallest of protest objects, badges can be powerful and effective in delivering good design and concise messaging. For example, ‘You can’t sink a rainbow’ (middle right) effectively combines a rainbow as a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement and the dove of peace with the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, along with the impossible idea of actually sinking a rainbow. Localised versions of the iconic Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament symbol were created, and in the design at the bottom right Gavin Patterson reinterpreted the peace symbol with miha fern fronds uncurling inside a CND symbol, symbolising hope and growth. It won him a national CND competition in 1985 for best design.
La Bombe, 1988. Made by Lisa McEwan. Purchased 2018. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH018236). Photograph by Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
This dramatic outfit was successful in terms of both fashion and anti-nuclear protest. Lisa McEwan created La Bombe for the 1988 Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards, New Zealand’s premier fashion design event. It was highly commended in the ‘After Five’ section. McEwan effectively channelled contemporary political and environmental concerns through a show-stopping and memorable garment. She combined the fashionable female silhouette of the late 1980s with an evocation of the terrible seductive beauty of a mushroom cloud sweeping up the body and acid rain diamantes falling down the tulle cape. McEwan recalls: ‘La Bombe, came out as the finale piece for the 1988 B&H Awards. The silhouette was of an atomic cloud, with black veiling used to give an air of mourning and foreboding, while diamantes signified acid rain … It was extremely well received by the audience … However, true to what I had been told, it was too extreme to win at the B&H.’ 5 La Bombe channelled the anger many felt after the bombing of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland. It also celebrated the passing of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act in 1987. McEwan recalls: ‘I had always been politically aware, being very involved in the Springbok tour protests and other human-rights campaigns of that era. By the time of the Rainbow Warrior bombing in 1985, I was a young parent, deeply concerned about the nuclear threat and incensed that a foreign power could inflict this act of terrorism in New Zealand waters. Many artists got behind the anti-nuclear movement in the following years, but I remember the Topp Twins being challenged as to whether singing a protest song could actually do anything to facilitate change. They simply replied that writing songs and performing was what they did, so they were going to use those skills and that platform to add weight to the campaign.’6
PAPA-TU-A-NUKU (EARTH MOTHER) We are stroking, caressing the spine of the land. We are massaging the ricked back of the land. With our sore but ever-loving feet. Hell, she loves it! Squirming, the land wriggles in delight. We love her. – HONE TŪWHARE
Literature, especially poetry, can be a powerful protest form and object. The celebrated poet Hone Tūwhare (1922–2008), who walked in the 1975 hikoi, wrote the poem ‘Papa-Tu-A-Nuku (Earth Mother)’ not long after. In 1978, the year of the Bastion Point occupation, it was published in the collection Making a fist of it: poems and short stories, published by Jackstraw Press in Dunedin.
Bastion Point badge, late 1970s. Designed by Joseph Hawke, Ōrākei Māori Committee Action Group; made by EYP Ltd. Gift of Tim Walker, 1996. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH004670). Police surround the protesters on the disputed land at Bastion Point, 1978. Photograph by John Bramley for the New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Herald Archives (NZH-1092321). ‘The Treaty is a Fraud’ badge, late 1970s—early 1980s. Produced by EYP Ltd. Gift of Anne Else, 2004. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH014503).
This badge was worn by protesters against the government’s decision to build houses on Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei land at Takaparawhau, also known as Bastion Point. From January 1977, protesters staged a 506-day occupation at Takaparawhau, led by the Ōrākei Māori Committee Action Group. The design of this badge features a mangopare (hammerhead shark) to symbolise the strength in the protesters’ occupation. This motif was designed by the leading figure of the occupation, Joe Hawke. Hawke had been active in other protest movements around the country, including the 1975 Māori Land March alongside Dame Whina Cooper. This badge, and T-shirts bearing slogans and imagery in support of the occupation, were often donated by companies who supported the cause. The ephemeral, highly transient, nature of these objects allowed the plight of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, and many other causes that have used ephemeral media in the past, to travel broadly and be worn boldly. On 25 May 1978 the government sent in a huge force of police and army personnel to evict the protesters, and two hundred and twenty-two protesters were arrested. This image depicts the sheer disparity in numbers between the protesters and those coming in to remove them. Alongside the arrests, the settlement that had been established during the occupation was also razed. The Bastion Point occupation remains one of the most famous protest actions and infamous state interventions in New Zealand history. Ten years after the eviction, in 1988, the Waitangi Tribunal recommended that the government return Takaparawhau to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
Tino rangatiratanga T-shirt, beret and badge, 1998. Designed by Te Kawariki Group. Purchased 1999. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (ME017401, ME017409, ME017416). Ko wai te waka e kau mai nei, 1976. By Buck Nin. Purchased 1976. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (1976-0036-1).
The waka that comes our way
Through the curved forms reminiscent of kōwhaiwhai, the viewer’s gaze is mediated to the blank whiteness beyond. Ko wai te waka e kau mai nei prompts this work by the late Buck Nin (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa, Chinese). Made in the years between the Māori Land March and the occupation at Takaparawhau, in both of which he was an active participant, it is a timeless work that asks: Where are we going, what does our future hold? These are questions that could be asked at any point in postcontact Māori history. For Nin, who was dux of his high school and who has a Master’s and doctorate from overseas institutions, education was ever-present. He played a pivotal role in Māori art and art education and worked hard to foster younger Māori artists. An example of this is in his work promoting Māori art in contemporary art spaces that were predominantly Pākehā. When he approached the Canterbury Museum in 1966 with the concept of an exhibition of Māori art and sculpture, the idea led to one of the country’s first exhibitions of contemporary Māori art in a mainstream institution. The show featured Nin’s own works and those of fellow Māori artists Cath Brown (Ngāi Tahu), Fred Graham (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Tainui), Mere Harrison (Ngāti Porou), Norman Te Whata (Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tu, Ngāti Ue), Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (Ngāpuhi, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī, English), Katerina Mataira (Ngāti Porou) and Selwyn Murupaenga (Ngāti Kuri). It is clear that Nin knew the implicit power of the motifs he used in his works, having seen the efficacy of symbolism in action: ‘The banner, symbol of protest, has been used to portray the present unease over land and other problems associated with urbanisation.’ 17
‘Strike Out Apartheid’ match book, 1981. Produced by Halt All Racist Tours and the New Zealand University Students’ Association. Hocken Collections, Dunedin. ‘STOP The ’81 Tour’ badge, 1981. Produced by Halt All Racist Tours. Gift of Annette Anderson, 2009. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH012531).
Objects of solidarity
No object was too small or humble to be co-opted by the anti-tour movement, particularly when double meanings and word play could be mined for maximum effect, as with the match book above. HART’s split black-and-white heart motif features on the badge top left (opposite); it became one of New Zealand’s most memorable and effective protest symbols. On the badge top right a rugby term (‘ruck’) is subversively combined with an unprintable expletive. The badge bottom left was worn by protesters during the controversial 1981 Springbok tour and in the lead-up to a proposed All Black tour of South Africa in 1985. The upraised clenched fist is an internationally recognised symbol of solidarity and strength. The badge bottom right was made for women protesting against the 1981 Springbok rugby tour. Many walks of life were represented in the protest movement, and many groups voiced their concerns independently to ensure all perspectives were acknowledged by the movement.
‘Ruck off Boks!’ badge, 1981. Maker unknown. Gift of the Estate of Ron and Carmen Smith, 2015. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH024498). ‘Fight Racism’ badge, 1981–85. Produced by the New Zealand University Students’ Association. Gift of the Estate of Ron and Carmen Smith, 2015. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH024499). ‘Women against the Tour’ badge, 1981. Unknown maker. Gift of Annette Anderson, 2009. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH012534). Women Against the Tour, 31 August 1981. Evening Post. Alexander Turnbull Library (PAColl-7327-1-069/2967).
Supporters of the Springbok rugby tour march down Queen Street, Auckland, 9 May 1981. Photograph by Anthony Phelps, New Zealand Herald.
Support for the tour
In the photograph above, supporters and members of the Society for the Protection of Individual Rights (SPIR) are marching down Queen Street, Auckland, in support of the impending Springbok tour. Some are wearing ‘Support the Tour’ badges. About half of the New Zealand population supported the Springbok tour, but very few adopted the material strategies of the anti-tour movement. SPIR was one of the most organised and visible of the pro-tour groups. Its mission was to welcome all sporting and cultural groups to New Zealand, without political interference. The two young men opposite are wearing T-shirts printed ‘FART’ (For All Rugby Tours) – a riposte to HART’s acronym.
‘Support the Tour’ badge, 1981. Produced by the Society for the Protection of Individual Rights. New Zealand Rugby Museum (2005/84/2). ‘Pro-Tour people’, Palmerston North, 30 July 1981. Photograph by Miles Hargest. Purchased 1983 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (O.003004).
Knee pads, circa 1981. Maker unknown. Purchased 2001. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH009803).
Cricketer’s box, circa 1981. Maker unknown. Purchased 2001. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH009804).
Shin pads, circa 1981. Manufactured by Artikel, Germany. Purchased 2001. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH009802).
Chest protector, 1981. Made by Gerard and Michael Dobson. Purchased 2001. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH009800).
Cross, 1981. Made by Timothy Langley. John Kinder Theological Library, Auckland.
The protester who bought the ticket shown opposite for the Springboks versus Waikato game at Rugby Park in Hamilton on 25 July was one of 200 who bought tickets as part of ‘Operation Wooden Horse’. The plan was to stand on the park’s embankment to help create a path through the crowd for ‘Operation Everest’, a much larger group of protesters who were approaching by road. As the ticket-holders took their places the thousands of people in Operation Everest arrived, and within moments had pulled down the perimeter fence and stormed through. About 350 anti-tour protesters successfully invaded the field. There were violent scenes as rugby supporters scuffled with protesters and pelted them with bottles, and the game had to be abandoned. This cross was carried onto the field by students of St John’s Theological College in Auckland. It was a powerful symbol of the Christian churches’ protest against apartheid, although the act itself was unsanctioned. Like other institutions, church congregations were divided over the tour. Timothy Langley, a theology student, made the cross the night before the game as ‘a rallying point’. ‘I was determined that if the police were going to do anything … at unarmed men and women the point of contact would be a cross.’ Langley recalls, ‘… we ran through the fence and crowd and onto the field. A man and woman grabbed it and sought to wrestle it … and break it. I told them to leave it alone and they did. For about an hour it was held high in the centre of the group of protesters occupying the field.’ They survived the protest, and the cross was taken back to St John’s that night and ‘given an honoured place’.5 The Hamilton game was beamed live by satellite to South Africa, where South Africans were astonished and buoyed by what they saw: police who seemed powerless to move people from the field. Nelson Mandela later said it was as ‘if the sun had come out’ when he heard the game had been cancelled in Hamilton.6
Ticket to the South Africa v. Waikato game, 25 July 1981. Issued by New Zealand Rugby Football Union Inc. Gift of John Minto, 2009. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH012529). Two members of St John’s College run onto Rugby Park, Hamilton, while two supporters of the Springbok rugby tour try to stop them, 25 July 1981. Photograph by Peter Black. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (O.003025).
Mabel Howard holding up inconsistently sized bloomers in protest at Parliament, 1954. Evening Post. Alexander Turnbull Library (EPNZ Obits-Ho to Ht-01).
Te Whenua, Te Whenua, Engari Kaore He Turangawaewae (Placenta, Land, but Nowhere to Stand), 1987. By Robyn Kahukiwa. Purchased 1988. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (1988/32).
Power of hidden objects
On 22 September 1954 Opposition Labour Member of Parliament Mabel Howard protested against the inconsistency in women’s clothing sizes by holding up two pairs of bloomers in Parliament during the second reading of the Merchandise Marks Bill. She was illustrating her argument that garments marked OS (oversize) varied in their dimensions, making it very difficult for women to purchase the correct size. She called for labels to carry measurements, and for manufacturers to stop ‘this pinching of material out of women’s clothing’.9 Waving her bloomers startled the House and drew laughter, but also support. This was no overnight gimmick – Howard had protested against inconsistency in the quality and sizing of women’s clothing and footwear for ten years. But her dramatic presentation in 1954 became the most memorable moment of her parliamentary career, demonstrating that performing protest with objects can create the most impact. Howard made public what had previously been hidden and she was successful; standardisation of sizes was soon legislated. However, a downside of this memorable moment was that it was the only thing some people remembered about Howard, despite her long career devoted to many causes.
Te whare tangata
Artist and illustrator Robyn Kahukiwa (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Hau, Ngāti Konohi, Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare) began painting while caring for her two small children. Having grown up in Australia, Kahukiwa moved to New Zealand at the age of nineteen and has exhibited widely since 1972. Her work has often been inspired by, and depicted, wāhine Māori and atua wāhine, their mana and mauri resplendently celebrated. Through her work, she also explores the harsher aspects of te ao Māori: the geographical dislocation that comes from international and national migration. Through her work she negotiates these spaces herself, maintaining a strength of connection that cannot be doubted. This work references the burying of whenua (placenta) in whenua (land) after a baby is born. This tikanga often sees whenua being taken to one’s tūrangawaewae, but how do you practise this tikanga if you have no connection or knowledge of your tūrangawaewae? This painting depicts that pain of displacement while strongly asserting that that connection is still present in the knowledge of the tikanga. It is also a strong assertion of the position of a Māori mother, of her role as the whare tangata.
‘If Muldoon could get pregnant abortion would be legal’ poster, late 1970s. Text screenprinted by Helen Wilson; published by the Women’s National Abortion Action Campaign. Gift of Robyn Anderson, 2004. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH014465). Pay Equity rally banner, 2010. Produced by and courtesy of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions. ‘Women Want Equal Pay’ tea towel, 1985. Produced by the New Zealand Clerical Workers’ Union. Gift of Jan Noonan, 2010. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH016924).
The ‘pregnant man’ image was a powerful concept in the 1970s. Opposite, an image of the most important man in New Zealand, Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, has been repurposed by WONAAC. During the 1970s, WONAAC’s protest strategies shifted from street marches and rallies to humorous pickets and posters, educational activities and more direct public engagement with politicians. This poster is an example of WONAAC’s more humorous approach. This famous equal-pay cartoon below left was imported from the United States and used by the New Zealand Clerical Workers’ Union in its 1985 campaign seeking equal pay for work of equal value. The image provides a humorous way into the issue. Being printed onto a tea towel is ironic given how much of women’s lives can be bound up in domestic duties. Some aspirations take decades, if not centuries, to be realised: first-wave feminists began campaigning for equality in employment in the mid-1890s. Equal pay for women was legislated for the public service in 1961, and the private sector in 1972, but is not yet fulfilled across all employment sectors. Kate Sheppard is often evoked when women’s rights are threatened or not proceeding quickly enough. In the 2010 Pay Equity campaign banner above, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions repurposed New Zealand’s $10 note to demonstrate that women were effectively paid only $8.80 to every $10 paid to men. New Zealand’s $10 note proudly includes a portrait of Kate Sheppard – the first woman apart from Queen Elizabeth II to feature on New Zealand currency – but in this banner, her fame and achievements hide the stubborn issue of pay inequality.
‘Kate Sheppard Sent Me’ placard, 20 January 2017. Made by Leah McFall. Gift of Leah McFall, 2017. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH025260).
This placard was made by journalist Leah McFall for the Women’s March on Washington in Wellington. It invokes and pays homage to New Zealand’s most famous woman activist – Kate Sheppard. McFall salvaged the cardboard from a city skip, after deciding at the last minute to march. She recalls: ‘The evening before I jumped online to see what other marchers were planning over in the US. I read a list of placard slogans and the comedy message “Carrie Fisher sent me” made me smile. I thought it was brilliant to reference the actress, who had just died and was supposedly in feminist Heaven, and combine her iconic status as an avenging princess in the Star Wars movies. I wondered if I could adapt the gag for a New Zealand march. Kate Sheppard seemed the obvious pick, especially as we were marching in Wellington … Because the sign was light-hearted, loads of marchers loved it … I think humour is an incredibly powerful means of expressing a passionate opinion without alienating anyone. The funniest signs often got the most attention … I felt as ardent as any other marcher, but enjoyed carrying a sign which made people grin, as well as making them think.’17
Play it cool
In the early 1970s Pacific Islanders in New Zealand became vulnerable to increasing racial tensions and discrimination after high levels of immigration coincided with economic recession. Unscrupulous landlords exploited tenants, and police carried out random checks in the street and in public bars. Young men were particularly targeted. The Polynesian Panthers published the legal aid booklet overleaf to help people when they were dealing with police, the courts and landlords. Hundreds of copies were sold and handed out, and it became a key tool in resisting state oppression and discrimination, particularly when the police began ‘dawn raids’ in 1974 to catch alleged ‘overstayers’ (people staying beyond their visas). ‘Play it Cool’ is the key message at the beginning of the booklet. It features a photograph of the PPP’s ‘Minister of Information’ Wayne Toleafoa liaising with the police at the beginning of the solidarity march shown on page 274. The Reverend Toleafoa, now a Presbyterian minister, recalls: ‘I had several opportunities to test its content when I was stopped or confronted by police patrols in Ponsonby. I was never arrested because 1. I was not doing anything illegal & 2. I knew what to say because of the advice in the booklet.’ 2 Like the legal aid booklet overleaf, posters delivered instructions to young people about their civil rights and how to manage questioning by the police. As Reverend Wayne Toleafoa said in 2017, ‘The rust of racism never sleeps.’3
‘Those cops are heading towards us’ poster, 1983. Made by Wellington Media Collective for the Wellington Community Law Centre. Purchased 2015. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH024645).
Extra meaning and power These objects were confiscated from activist and artist Tame Iti (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Wairere, Ngāti Haua, Te Arawa) during what became known as the ‘Terror Raids’, which significantly disrupted the Tūhoe settlement of Rūātoki (along with other sites throughout the country) on 15 October 2007. On that day, seventeen people, including Iti, were arrested on the basis that they were linked to alleged weapons-training camps near Rūātoki. Marches and demonstrations were held in cities and towns throughout New Zealand to protest against the Terrorism Suppression Act and the raids. Police claimed Iti was involved in running military-style training camps in the Urewera Ranges and was planning a guerrilla war to establish an independent state. However, there was insufficient evidence to lay charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act. Instead, four people (the ‘Urewera Four’) were eventually found guilty of firearms offences, with two, Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rereahu), serving jail time.
Helmet, flak vest, gumboot, gun holster, hearing protection, ammunition cartridge box, dehydrated food packets, books (Immediate Action by Andy McNab; Michael Collins by Tim Pat Coogan; Geronimo: The man, his time, his place by Angie Debo), 1990s–2000s. Various makers. Gift of Tame Iti, 2017. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (ME024203-09, GH025366)
These objects can be understood in a variety of ways. They can be seen as another chapter in the long-standing oppression of Tūhoe at the hands of the Crown. They can appear militaristic (ammunition box, camouflage, food rations), protective (helmet, hearing protection), influential (books on activists), and absurd (the one gumboot taken as evidence). They may simply be seen as the kit of a weapons enthusiast. However, their time as confiscated items held by the police has charged them with extra meaning and power, particularly in light of the final verdict and the subsequent apology Police Commissioner Mike Bush made to Tūhoe in 2014 for mistakes made during the raids. The T-shirt and poster shown overleaf commemorate the controversial anti-terrorism raids carried out by police around New Zealand on 15 October 2007. The memories and mamae (pain) have been acknowledged in various ways since that time. These objects both feature the Tūhoe independence flag, Te Mana Motuhake o Tūhoe, and call on remembrance as resistance.
We are one
The Masjid Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch were attacked by a heavily armed white supremacist during Friday prayer on 15 March 2019, killing fifty-one people and wounding fifty more. The victims ranged in age from three years old to seventy-eight. There was an instant outpouring of grief and outrage online and in streets throughout New Zealand and around the world, from hastily scrawled graffiti to delicate artworks. Students and staff of Victoria University in Wellington immediately made use of a wall that was part of a temporary building project in the heart of the Kelburn campus. Within days, thousands of individual messages and images were written in chalk on the wall, expressing love, compassion and solidarity, and condemning racism and the attacks. The wall also became a gathering point and a place of solace during the difficult weeks after the attacks. Such public images and messaging are often seen in the wake of mass violence. They are touching and provide comfort, but are temporary. The work of addressing and challenging racism, Islamophobia and white supremacy continues.
Victoria University of Wellington tribute wall, Wellington, 22 March 2019. Photograph by Michael O’Neill. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (CA001228/001/0001).
Tools of protest
Save Aramoana Campaign Basic Information Kit, 1980–81. Produced by the Save Aramoana Campaign. Hocken Collections, Dunedin (MS2124/108). ‘No Smelter’ badge, 1980–81. Maker unknown. Hocken Collections, Dunedin.
Both anti- and pro-smelter groups released huge amounts of research and educational materials to support their positions. Both sides translated technical and scientific information into everyday language to appeal to wide audiences. The Save Aramoana Campaign took every opportunity to present its cause in public. The small paper flag opposite was waved at a demonstration at the opening of Parliament in 1980, and featured the campaign’s bird motif – the South Island pied oystercatcher. The Aramoana Philatelic Bureau in Christchurch produced first day covers with stamps featuring artworks by Don Binney and Marilynn Webb (see opposite). The first issue featured Binney’s 1976 painting Puketōtara, twice shy (held in Te Papa’s collection). They looked like real postage stamps, but they were not official – they could only be used as stickers on envelopes. However, they were successful fundraisers and the odd one may have slipped through as postage. They also attracted international philatelic interest.
Save Aramoana flag, 1980. Produced by the Save Aramoana Campaign. Alexander Turnbull Library (Eph-CEnvironment-1982-02).
Independent State of Aramoana stamps (first issue), released 8 May 1981. Painted by Don Binney; issued by Aramoana Philatelic Bureau. Private Collection (image courtesy of TeÂ Ara).
Rena posters, 2011. Designed by Publicis Mojo; published by Greenpeace. Gift of Greenpeace, 2012. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (GH017493, GH017498).
Deep sea drilling
These posters were published by Greenpeace as both a memorial to the Rena oil spill in the Bay of Plenty in 2011 and as a wider protest against deep-sea oil drilling. On 5 October 2011 the cargo ship Rena grounded on the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga, with tonnes of oil spilling into the sea. Entire ecosystems suffered along the coast and reef. Among the most visible victims were seabirds, some from as far away as the sub-Antarctic. Many died; others couldn’t fly, swim, stay warm, or feed their chicks. Because the disaster hit at the beginning of the breeding season, the effects were long-lasting. Te Papa scientists helped to identify the oil-soaked birds. Diving species like penguins, petrels and shearwaters were most affected. Landing on an oil slick is usually a death sentence; even lightly oiled birds sometimes don’t recover. Greenpeace wanted to create a memorial to the thousands of birds killed by the Rena disaster that would also be a stark reminder of the dangers of opening up New Zealand waters to deep-sea oil drilling. Auckland art collective Publicis Mojo and Greenpeace volunteers came up with the concept of making ‘oil prints’ with a little blue penguin that had died as a result of the Rena disaster. It was found dead and covered in oil on Matakana Island by Greenpeace volunteers when they were helping the local iwi, Ngā Hapū o te Moutere o Matakana, clean oil off their beaches following the Rena spill. One hundred and fifty prints were made and pasted up along Auckland’s Khyber Pass Road in December 2011. The prints were accompanied by a larger poster that declared: ‘Rena did this. Deep sea oil drilling could be over 1000 times worse.’
Reacting to Rena
Frustrated by the lack of urgent action to stop oil spilling from the Rena, Tauranga artists Graham Hoete and Owen Dippie took to the streets with their billboard calling for less talk, more action (‘Less Hui, More Do-Ey’). They attached the mural to a shipping container, evoking the eighty-eight containers that had fallen off the Rena, some containing hazardous materials. Spoken word poet Te Kahu Rolleston (Ngāi Te Rangi) performed his powerful poem ‘Rena’ at Te Papa in 2013.
‘Ticking Time Bomb’ protest mural, 2011. Painted by Graham Hoete (pictured) and Owen Dippie. Image courtesy of SunLive. ‘Rena’ from Puna Wai Kōrero: An Anthology of Māori Poetry in English. Edited by Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan. Auckland University Press, Auckland, 2014.
THE RENA It began. As . . . . . . . . . the essence of death, itself sept, from the monsters depths, into the sand impacting, all creatures, from the air, sea, and the land, she was stuck!! Between a ‘reef and a hard place’, jammed like boiled fruit pulp in a jar case, her knife-like features with a sharp, blade-like base, pierced my Moana, while oozing, and bleeding this dark paste, she was stuck!! No anchor, nothing butter, dark taste, the volatility spread, churning my once bright pantry and sanctuary into a dark place. We were going wild, lives spinning, out of control, with the wild life, killing, that was occurring, as the government sat around, downing their Caésar salad just chilling, how dare you, poison the swells and the realm of Tangaroa, then sit around and watch … as time ticks on, while doing nothing at all, to those with the access and knowledge that’s a food basket and store, payments made, with the practice of Kaitiakitanga, Tikanga, and L.O.R.E Law, until that day, when this blanket of death lay, on our sea bed, and he was almost a beach, dead, for sure, I saw them, an army of Taniwha, surfing the waves, in the shape of shipping containers, though nothing within them could be contained, armoured in steal, stealing, taking the life of my Moana away, unless you were raised, to be at one with the sea, you could never see, believe. Understand or feel this sort of pain, while it was happening there was a culture clash, Money vs Mana who determines and measures success and wealth for is wealth the ability to be able to collect enough food to sustain yourself? Or is the wealth forever to be measured as the assets in your possession and cash in your bank account? The sea ...... Well that’s a resource to followers of capitalism, but what’s a re-source, to our Mauri-source, my people’s very essence of living. As soon as it happened, we were there, an army in gumboots and latex gloves that protected nothing believe me, that’s the sort of power and love, shared and felt between Whānau Hapū and Iwi. To overcome my anger I had to find a silver lining, and what I ended up finding, what a unity the one-ness that can come from such a tragedy, and that’s the only reason I’m still smiling ..... . — Te Kahu Rolleston
PROTEST TAUTOHETOHE: OBJECTS OF RESISTANCE, PERSISTENCE AND DEFIANCE Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams and Puawai Cairns RRP: $70.00 ISBN: 978-0-9941460-4-5 PUBLISHED: November 2019 PAGE EXTENT: 416 pages FORMAT: Flexibind SIZE: 250 x 195 mm
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO ORDER https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/about/te-papa-press/history-books/Protest_Tautohetohe
For a small, peaceful democracy in the South Pacific, New Zealand has had its fair share of major protest issues, and over the decades New Z...
Published on Aug 27, 2019
For a small, peaceful democracy in the South Pacific, New Zealand has had its fair share of major protest issues, and over the decades New Z...