October 15, 2012
Lessons to be learned from Tuhoe raids
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Tuhoe activist Tame Iti shouldn’t be in jail.
Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the arrest of the Tuhoe activist and 17 others in relation to camps being run in the Ruatoki valley.
Only four were eventually tried after the Supreme Court rules that much of the police surveillance evidence was obtained illegally, with Iti and Rangi Kemara being jailed for 30 months on weapons charges.
Mrs Turia says in arresting the suspects, the police behaved in a violent fashion against the whole community of Ruatoki.
“I think what we have learned is that there was no excuse for that raid, that those who are sitting in prison today, that a great injustice has been done to them, and that we need to be a lot more diligent and careful in terms of where the police gets its information from and how it responds to it,” she says.
Mrs Turia says it was institutional racism the way the police excluded iwi liaison officers from their planning for the raids, and then called them back in once it became clear their actions had angered the wider Maori community.