The continual radical propaganda from Maori broadcasting helped stir up a new wave of Maori protest activity.
In the mid ’90s, occupations at Moutua Gardens, the Rotorua Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua, arsons, assaults, courtroom protests and vandalism brought a new wave of Maori activists to the fore.
Ken Mair, Mike Smith, Niko Tangaroa and Tame Iti became the new bogeymen.
This “new wave” however was not so new. It was a direct descendant of ’80s activist groups such as Syd Jackson’s Te Ahi Kaa, Mat Rata’s Mana Motuhake and of course the trade union movement.
Ken Mair, an ex-navy diver, was seven years Maori officer with the socialist controlled Post Primary Teachers Association and an official in Mana Motuhake.
Another old time “new waver” was Joe Rickit, Wellington political spokesman for Te Ahi Kaa and a member of Hone Harawira’s Te Kawariki. Rickit had been a Labourers Union official, a member of the Porirua branch of the Socialist Unity Party and involved with the Wellington branch of the Communist Party. Rickit is now coordinator for the National Association of Maori Mathematicians, Scientists and Technologists.
Few, if any of the ’90s Maori radical leaders did not have Marxist/Leninist and/or trade union connections.
The “New Wavers” also had a dedicated non Maori support network. This web included CORSO, and the Christchurch based group, Action For An Independent Aoteoroa (AFIA), which organised Waitangi Day protests at Okains Bay, near Christchurch, annually for a decade.
AFIA leader, Joe Davies, now an organiser with Matt McCarten’s UNITE union is as radical as they come. He has been active in HART, CORSO, the NZ/USSR Friendship Society and other socialist groups. As he wrote in Monthly Review, November 1988., “Pakeha communists must get actively involved in supporting Maori struggles for national independence and self-determination. We have to seek out those issues that will further the aims of nationalism…”
Incidentally Davies probably earned his credibility with the radicals during the 1986 royal tour of New Zealand when he proudly bared his backside to Queen Elizabeth. Davies performance (a traditional Maori insult) was possibly the real inspiration for Her Royal Highness’ description of that disastrous year for the Royal Family, 1992.. “Annus Horriblis.”