Ngāpuhi parents who challenged an anti-co-governance roadshow in Kerikeri last night say it was a display of ignorance.
Julian Batchelor is hosting the presentations which oppose co-governance and criticise Māori MPs, Treaty of Waitangi rights for Māori and iwi organisations.
Batchelor’s social media account describes his profession as a real estate agent. However, his name can no longer be found on the public register for licensed real estate professionals.
At another talk in Dargaville at the Kaipara Community Hall last week, police had to intervene, Batchelor was accused of racism by some opponents – then arguments broke out between his supporters.
Heeni Hoterene (Ngāpuhi) is among those who attended in Kerikeri to stick up for Māori rights.
“I’m bringing my children up in this district of Northland, and to see that there’s these true blue racists living [here], I’m very fearful for my children and our future.”
Last night’s talk was held at the Cornerstone Church. Hoterene said community venues and churches should not accommodate any future talks Batchelor had planned.
“They shouldn’t, because they would be associated [with Batchelor’s messaging]. If you’re opening your door for this type of hate speech to come in, you’re saying that you support it.”
Batchelor denied spreading racism and last night he told the crowd of around 150 people: “I’m not spreading hate, you know what I am spreading? I am spreading a warning. I am spreading a warning to New Zealand.
“Repeal all race-based legislation – this is what I’m wanting.”
And then he added: “Those MPs, Mr [Christopher] Luxon, Mr [Chris] Hipkins – they need to say outright co-governance is wrong. It’s completely wrong … I want to get 100,000 people to march to the Auckland Domain just before the election to put pressure on all the parties.
“Co-governance has got to be expunged, which means like taking every bit of cancer out of our body. It’s got to go.”
In his Dargaville talk on Thursday night, he claimed co-governance was part of a war between “tribal representatives or elite Māori, and the rest of New Zealand”.
He said “elite Māori treatyists” were a distinct group, and if they did not stop New Zealand was headed to becoming the “Zimbabwe of the South Pacific”.
Batchelor described policies specifically supporting Māori as treaty partners as “apartheid”.
Last night’s talk was preceded by a brief speech by Brad Flutey, who was heavily involved in the occupation at Parliament a year ago and protesting at Marsden Point later last year about the closure of the refinery.
He said there were already “too many statutes coming from one government”.
‘No need to fear us’
After Batchelor’s speech, Māori environmentalist Reuben Taipari (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa, Tūhoe) addressed the room, rejecting points Batchelor made.
“We [Māori] need support from everybody in all of the communities, for us to find the solutions.
“Because we don’t want to be incarcerated. We don’t want to be at the highest statistic for mortality. We don’t want to be uneducated. We want to be a part of this community, of this country. We want to be a very strong positive part of this country. So there’s no need to fear us.”
He also said: “We need to bring our people together. We’re going to protect our children and our grandchildren.”
Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board member Roddy Pihema also addressed the audience, expressing hurt and frustration at Batchelor’s words.
He said it felt like: “It’s not enough to just be Māori in this world. We have to shine brighter than anyone else. We have to be more intelligent than anyone else. We have to go through struggles better than anyone else.”
A spokesperson for Cornerstone said the venue was “inclusive in accepting all bookings which respect our property and staff”.