Yet another activist linked to both Greenpeace and the “Urewera 17” is Ngapuhi elder, Kingi Taurua.
Mr Taurua’s home was searched during the October 15th anti-terror raids on the strength of intercepted messages from Tame Iti.
From the Northern Advocate 17.10.2007
Iti was one of 17 people arrested on Monday as armed police swooped in raids on suspected weapons training camps.
“The police got on to me over a text message from Tame telling me about a meeting at Ruatoki,” Mr Taurua told The Northern Advocate yesterday.
He said Iti had contacted him three or four times last year, asking him (Taurua) to use his soldiering skills to teach young people about survival in the bush.
Mr Taurua, who had served “in the jungle” with the NZ Army in Vietnam, was willing to teach bushcraft, but other commitments had prevented him from attending the proposed training sessions.
Mr Taurua said he had been unable to sleep and had butterflies in his stomach after police contacted him.
“I was shocked because I didn’t know what it was all about,” he said.
“I still don’t know if the (alleged terrorist training) claims are true, but I do know Tuhoe kids go into the bush to learn to hunt and care for rifles. I spoke to a Tuhoe guy the other day and he said hunting was their bread and butter.”
Mr Taurua’s claims of innocence may well be true, after all he is a respected Ngapuhi elder, broadcaster and chairman of the Waitangi Marae.
Mr Taurua is an Amorangi (Spiritual leader) and a spokesperson for the council of elders of Ngapuhi. He has served as a cultural advisor to the New Zealand government on many issues including advisor and supervisor for the making of Maori welfare policy.
However Mr Taurua has also been a militant activist and has supported some interesting causes.
I quote from Challenge, June 14th 2000, newspaper of the US based Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party, commenting on George Speight’s recent coup in Fiji.
“In New Zealand…several leaders of the indigenous Maori minority have voiced support for Mr. Speight….One radical Maori leader, Kingi Taurua, said that a Maori-led coup in New Zealand could occur if the government did not act to recognize indigenous rights.
The several leaders referred to were probably Tame Iti and Tauni Sinclair who travelled to Fiji to support Mr Speight.
In the early ’00s Mr Taurua was a leader of a Ngapuhi group who protested against the building of a new prison at Ngawha in Northland.
“Urewera 17” IT man, was also involved in this protest action.
In April 2004, Mr Taurua and artist Richard Nunns performed in the annual Spring Friendships Arts Festival held in Pyongyang, North Korea. The visit, which also included China was arranged by the Rev. Don Borrie, Chairman of the NZ-DPRK Friendship Society.
“Apart from introducing NZ music, with a distinctly Maori flavour, to Korean audiences, we see this as an excellent way of contributing to people-to-people linkages, breaking down barriers of misunderstanding, and helping build a more peaceful, and prosperous, world” said Rev. Borrie.
In February this year Teanau Tuiono and Kiritapu Allan (both of whose homes were searched by police on October 15th) were refused permission to fly the Maori Tino Rangatiratanga flag off Auckland
From the New Zealand Herald
Maori broadcaster and Ngapuhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua insisted last night that the Maori independence flag would fly from the Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day.
“They have made a big mistake,” Mr Taurua said of Transit’s decision to deny Maori permission to fly the flag from the bridge.
“Let me tell you, we will get that flag up that pole one way or another.”
He said the issue had raised the ire of many Maori, with meetings planned today to force the issue.
“We are going to fly that flag on the Harbour Bridge. I don’t know how yet but we will fly our flag.
The flag was “flown” a few months later when Greenpeace activist (friend of Tuiono and Allan) and “Urewera 17” support activist, Tia Taurere bungee jumped off the bridge wrapped in the revolutionary flag.
In 2005, Mr Taurua worked closely with Greenpeace in the People Poisoned Daily Speaking Tour.
Greenpeace, together with the Sawmill Workers Against Poisons (SWAP), Vietnam Veterans of Aotearoa, Paritutu Dioxin Investigation Action Group and Te Waka Kai Ora (Maori organics group) organised the tour to spread the anti dioxin message across New Zealand.
From the Tour blog
Day Two of the tour we held a meeting at Te Ao Marama Hall beside Lake Rotorua. Lake Rotorua is a sadly contaminated lake as at result of the PCP leachate from the Waipa Sawmill. About 40 people attended the meeting which was addressed by speakers from SWAP (Joe Harawira), Ngati Tuwharetoa (Tomairangi Fpx and Colleeen Skerrit), Greenpeace (Mere Takoko) and Vietnam Vets (Kingi Taurua)
The audience included sawmill workers, Vietnam veterans and their families. Their stories were all powerful and I felt like crying yet again when two men stood up to show us their black and swollen legs poisoned by exposure of dioxin contaminated PCP at the sawmills. The presentation from Ngati Tuwharetoa about their contaminated whenua at Kawerau was news to many people present who learnt about the true cost of many of our paper products..
Interestingly the tour was organised by the husband and wife team of Gordon Jackman and Catherine Delahunty.
Both are were Greenpeace officials and have been involved with the Green Party.
A couple of Kotare’s younger officials have close ties to some of the “Urewera 17” arrestees.