Red Roger’s Rural Refuge


Roger Gale is a forester. He lives in rural Northland, near the Herekino Forest.

In the early ’70s Roger was an Auckland based socialist activist. He hung around the Resistance Bookshop with likes of Sue Bradford and was a hardcore anti Apartheid activist.

He had a family history to live up to. Granddad Tom Gale ha been in the Communist Party at the Otahuhu Railway workshops. Uncle Len, a high school manual training teacher was also in the Communist Party, then the Socialist Unity Party and is now with the Socialist Party of Aotearoa.

Aunty Grace was also an SUP supporter and cousin Janet joined the Party in the late ’70s. In 1978 Janet travelled to Cuba for a youth festival with Maori radicals Ripeka Evans and Donna Awatere and some SUP comrades. Janet loved Cuba…”An overwhelming experience – to see over 18,000 people from 149 countries, representing over 2,000 organisations – working together under the bright Cuban sun for peace, friendship and anti-imperialist solidarity – the memory will remain with us for a long time.”

Roger’s mum, Irene came from an Australian socialist family. As a 16 year old she led the Communist Party’s Eureka Day March through Melbourne. Up until recent years at least she was Information Officer of the South Australian branch of the communist front, Australian Peace Committee. “Irene Gale steadfastly sustains the family tradition of campaigning for peace and social justice“.

Roger’s Dad, Jim Gale died in 1985 in South Australia. In the early’50s he was president of the Communist Party’s student group at Auckland University, the Socialist Club. From ’58 to ’60 Jim and Irene represented the Communist Party controlled, NZ Peace Council at the Soviet front Institute for Peace and Friendship, in Vienna.

Roger told this webpage why he left Auckland activism, for rural Northland.

His father had been a top anti-apartheid campaigner, a Vice-President of New Zealand’s CARE before moving to Australia, founding CARE there, and he’d chaired an anti-apartheid conference in New York 12 years ago before coming back, early 50s, a fit jogger, and dropping dead within 24 hours. His son suspected BOSS, the former South African secret police organisation.

Roger Gale himself had been an early HART activist. He’d been known to police for daredevil action, but it all stopped when, a few days after an arson at an Auckland rugby grandstand in the 70s, he’d come home from visiting a friend to see a stranger moving away from his house. He searched the flat top to bottom, found the evidence the intruder had planted, and disposed of it just an hour before the police raided his house to nail him. But the fright was real. If the police gambit had succeeded he’d have faced years in jail. He cut away from the movement, and had finished up in Herekino with a 100-acre hardwood plantation and a small business…

Let’s hope there are no strange men with trenchcoats and Seth Effrikan accents skulking around the Northland bush.

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3 thoughts on “Red Roger’s Rural Refuge

  1. It is interesting how all left-wing activities in the 70’s and 80’s were basically backed by communism, the same communism that had killed 20 million in Russia and even more in China. The blindness of idealists…

  2. I think you’ll usually find the same pattern today Deano. Some of these people haven’t learned a bllody thing from history.

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