December 14, 2021
Pre-dawn move catches protesters napping
A group protesting construction of a memorial in Parnell to the victims of the Erebus crash in Antarctica 42 years ago were caught out by a pre-dawn move by authorities.
The construction site in the corner of Dove Meyer Memorial Park was fenced off overnight.
When the first protesters arrived at their usual time of 5am they were met with a line of security guards.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, who backs the plan, says the land is called Taurarua, while the protest group calls it Mataharehare Pā.
By midday, around 30 protesters remained, a mix of Parnell residents and tangata whenua.
They’re parading through the rain-soaked gardens carrying Tino Rangatiratanga and He Whakaputanga flags and a kōhatu gifted to the site as a token of support.
Steve Phillips from Ngāti Whātua said the arrival of security staff came as a shock, with no warning from authorities.
He’s disappointed Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Rūnanga refused to support the rāhui placed on the site in June, leaving Parnell residents to carry the kaitiaki duties.
He says the protestors are yet to hear from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, which is responsible for the memorial project.