Much like the day in 1995 when our beloved Rangiātea Church burned down, there was a sense of sadness here on July 28.
Whether Māori, Pākehā or other, seeing the disrespect for Raukawa Marae by a bunch of unruly protesters was hard to watch.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good protest, and I’ve been on a few myself. And yes, a protest is intended to disrupt, but not to turn as nasty as this one did.
The target was obviously the visiting prime minister, but what the protesters – leaderless and many from out of town – failed to consider was that she was being welcomed onto sacred Ōtaki ground, by a people and tradition that value manaakitanga and treat guests with dignity. Placards being faced into the marae, attempts to forcibly enter and the worst of foul language directed at police and over the wall showed that this group had no respect for the things we value in Ōtaki.
We say in Ōtaki we are a small town with a big heart. If, like me, you were standing outside on this day, you’d see little evidence of that. It was a sad day.
Ōtaki’s manaakitanga took a hit on July 28 when protesters scared children and yelled obscenities into one of the town’s most revered places. Hearing that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was to visit, about 50 people protesting against the government’s Covid response and harbouring other disparate grievances gathered outside Raukawa... Keep Reading