Tauranga: what a difference a fair media makes

Last night’s meeting at Hotel Armitage in Tauranga was the sort of thing I had in mind when I organised this short tour — provided the local media got into the spirit of racial equality.

The local Sunlive and Weekend Sun newspaper certainly did, and I didn’t see many of the 217 seats empty, if any.

(Certainly not once I’d invited my protestor friends to come in and see my evidence!)

I’ll let Trina pick up the story from an email she sent round to our Treatygate email group:


Room was full!

Police were there at the entrance and a couple were standing up the hallway to the doorway of the meeting room.

Security guard stayed in the room throughout the meeting.

John invited the protestors into the speech and they were very respectful and kept quiet.

They stood around at the back and sat among people at the back.

I was a little late and ended up plonking myself down on a seat right infront of them because it was the first empty seat I saw!

John’s speech was provoking alot of scoffing and negative comments from the Maori around me and I was thinking this could really explode at question time, so I was feeling quite uptight.

But they did not create any issue’s throughout John’s speech.

His speech did not go on for too long it was good.

John recieved claps and laughs and good support from the people in the crowd.

What I think was so absolutely wonderful was when his speech ended.


We had a couple of Maori play on the emotional side but they got shot down.

Then we had a Maori guy stand up and give John his support because he could see what John was trying to achieve.

Another Maori guy met with John at the end and said he did not agree with everything John said in his speech but he liked the opportunity it has given everybody to talk openly with eachother.

One European guy challenged John on his points about Parihaka.

Another European guy told John he thought he was being very selective in what he presented and then started going on and on in a denigrating manner and then he got shut down by everyone else.

We had the leader of the protest group get up and very respectfully explain that they are not getting the money it all goes to the leaders – which we all know and I clapped with a few others after what he said because I agreed.

We did a show of hands on who would like a colourblind state and the majority put up their hands.

A lady got up and said that she worked with children.

She said children do not see any differences between people – it is when they get older they are taught to see the differences and make judgments.

Other people said we need to move on from the past.

Guy’s it was a great meeting for what it brought about.

John should feel very pleased. Hopefully he can fill you in on other bits that I have missed because I could not hear what everybody was saying.


Thanks Trina for this and for your dogged research work. Thanks too to:

  • Rudi du Plooy, who organised the Auckland meeting with (needless to say) no help whatsover from the NZ Herald.
  • Vinny Eastwood (Mr News), who videoed the Auckland meeting for free and will be loading it on his site.
  • Robbie in Tauranga, who, despite not owning a computer, worked his networks tirelessly and formed a constructive relationship with the excellent Sun newspaper.
  • Karen Bridgman for helping me to structure my naturally scattered creative brain. As a result, I’m told my second talk was much better than the first — and will continue to improve.
  • All of my daily email confidantes, collaborators and informants: Mike Butler, Martin Doutre, Ross Baker, Jean Jackson, and others who may prefer to remain semi-anonymous: Brenda, Basil, Perry, Helen, Lyn, Caroline, George, Ian and various other Johns. (I’m typing under urgency and am almost certain I’m forgetting some — if so, my apologies.)

Kapiti is ON

Therefore: those of you who live in the northern suburbs of Wellington: what about heading north on Wednesday rather than south on Thursday.

More in this vein when I get home.

Thanks those in Tauranga who came along despite fears of a riot. And thanks to the Maori protestors who

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