Saturday, July 25, 2015

NZ documentary exposes litany of state injustices against the Tūhoe, but also offers hope


Pacific Media Watch contributing editor Alistar Kata's report on an incisive new documentary.

INVESTIGATIVE journalist Kim Webby’s incisive and compassionate new documentary, The Price of Peace, about Tūhoe campaigner and kaumatua Tame Iti and the so-called “Urewera Four” won a standing ovation at its premiere during the NZ International Film Festival this week.

It deserved this - and more. Webby has crafted arguably the most brilliant film portrayal of race and cultural relations in New Zealand in contemporary times. She has examined a criminal case of national interest to explore biculturalism and justice in general, and specifically the litany of injustices imposed on the Ngāi Tūhoe people for generations.

And Webby has exposed the hypocrisy and myth making over both the Tūhoe case of justice and the disturbing facets of the current political orthodoxy around state surveillance.

The 87-minute film – made over a period of seven years - is essentially about the trial of the Urewera Four and its aftermath following the notorious “terror” raids in Te Urewera in 2007.

It portrays a striking and polarised duality about how mainstream New Zealand viewed the arrests and the people who were brutalised by this masked “swat” team-style attack on a peaceful and laid-back community.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rainbow Warrior: My Eyes of Fire anniversary message

David Robie speaking at the Eyes of Fire launch last night.
Image: Del Abcede/PMC; background screen image: John Miller
COMMENT: This was David Robie's book launch address.

IT'S HARD to believe that it is now 30 years – three whole decades – since state-backed terrorists blew up the peaceful environmental ship Rainbow Warrior – a vessel with such an inspiring name – and our friend and campaigner Fernando Pereira lost his life. 

I vowed to myself that I would continue the crusade as an engaged journalist by telling and retelling this story on any occasion I could.

This was the best I could do to keep Fernando’s memory alive, and to support the struggle of the Rongelap people – and all Pacific peoples harmed by the nuclear powers and their testing for more than a half century.

I remember the launch of the very first edition of Eyes of Fire in early 1986 out on the Viaduct aboard an old Auckland ferry.

Thanks to publisher Michael Guy, we had this giant cake iced with the French Tricolore. Dancing on the top of the cake were three frogmen and the phrase “J’accuse”.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rainbow Warrior legacy 30 years on - Eyes of Fire book launch


TODAY is the 30th anniversary of the Rainbow Warrior bombing in Auckland Harbour on 10 July 1985. Cafe Pacific brings you Selwyn Manning's wide-ranging interview on Evening Report with David Robie about the Rainbow Warrior's Pacific voyage - its last - the Rongelap evacuation, the legacy of nuclear testing by the three nuclear powers in the Pacific and looking forward to the challenges of climate change.

The book launching of Eyes of Fire by outgoing Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Bunny McDiarmid, is at The Cloud on Queen's Wharf at 4.30pm today, just near to where the environmental ship was bombed by French secret agents.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fiji, PNG lead betrayal, but still West Papuans triumph

A massive crowd at Timika, Papua, greets the MSG decision to grant West Papuans observer status.
Image: Free West Papua Campaign
COMMENT By David Robie

THE Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders’ summit in Honiara this week must go down as the most shameful since the organisation was founded two decades ago.

It had the opportunity to take a fully principled stand on behalf of the West Papuan people, brutally oppressed by Indonesia after an arguably “illegal” occupation for more than a half century.

Host nation Solomon Islands Prime Minister and chair Mannaseh Sogareve set the tone by making an impassioned plea at the start of the summit, predicting a “test” for the MSG. He said it would be an issue of human rights and the rule of law.

In the end, the MSG failed the test with a betrayal of the people of West Papua by the two largest members. Although ultimately it is a decision by consensus.

Instead, the MSG granted Indonesia a “promotion” to associate member status – an Asian country, not even Melanesian?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rainbow Warrior and NZ’s Pacific nuclear-free legacy


Alistar Kata's Rainbow Warrior report for Pacific Media Watch.


A PROGRESS report on the new Eyes of Fire – it's very different from previous editions, with an even greater emphasis on the Rongelap and Polynesian casualties of American and French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

The new Eyes of Fire ... out on the 30th anniversary
of the Rainbow Warrior bombing, July 10.
New Zealand media has too much preoccupation with the 1985 bombing of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland, and has largely ignored the greater Pacific tragedy.

Outrageous as this attack by French secret service agents was, it pales into insignificance alongside the atrocities inflicted on Kanak independence activists at the same time, such as the Hienghène massacre, the assassination of Éloi Machoro and the bloody ending to the 1988 Ouvea cave siege as exposed in the 2011 docu-drama Rebellion.

The publishers describe the new Eyes of Fire as being as being the "definitive work on Western treachery in the Pacific".

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pacific nuclear struggle didn’t finish with end to tests – new wave activism


 A Pacific Media Watch report by Alistar Kata.

AN innovative community publisher has teamed up with Café Pacific and the Pacific Media Centre to launch a dynamic microsite to honour the courage and commitment of the Rainbow Warrior nuclear-free campaigners.

And to inspire activism for the environmental causes still to be won – like seriously addressing climate change before it’s too late.

Or continuing the struggle for the Rongelap, Tahitian and other islanders whose lives have been ravaged by the legacy of nuclear testing. 

Little Island Press, which specialises in Pacific projects, has teamed up with author David Robie and the centre to collaborate with journalism and television students.

The digital microsite – “Eyes of Fire: 30 Years On” – has gone live this week. Over the next few weeks some 13 news stories and five full studio interviews will be rolled out on the website or on the PMC’s YouTube channel.

The campaign will run until the 30th anniversary of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior on 10 July 1985 and climax with publication of the new edition of Eyes of Fire.

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