Matthew Tukaki: Pack up, clean up and go home

National Māori Authority Chairman Matthew Tukaki is fed up with the protest around Parliament  Wellington and has launched his own #endtheprotest online campaign, which he says is working a treat.

Yesterday police installed concrete barriers on several surrounding streets over the objections over the objections of protestors and this morning when police moved the barriers close to the protest area, officers were sprayed with an unknown stinging liquid, which meant several had to go to hospital to be checked out while a protestor allegedly drove into officers leading to several arrests.

“There is a story of a 16-year-old boy being abused and spat on and people trying to take his mask off. That message that they are piling on about that it's love and peace. Actually, that’s not what is happening, which includes the desecration of the National Cenotaph, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. I was harangued outside my hotel yesterday afternoon, my jacket was torn from me and ripped from me by a group of thugs.”

Tukaki's grandfather served in World War II and his uncle served in the 28th Māori Battalion. He says it's disheartening to see the cenotaph being disrespected.

'No more violence needed'

“They desecrated the memory of the very freedom that our whānau fought for against the tyranny of Nazism with chalk and setting up a shower. Even worse is the presence of a swastika that someone graffitied on to one of the memorial statues and raising the Tino Rangatiratanga flag right next to the Confederacy flag for the breakaway southern states. We all know what that stood for - they were fighting to maintain their rights to own slaves right through to the Trump and Pence slogan”.

Tukaki is taking the hashtag #endtheprotest to social media.

“I didn’t want there to be a physical protest, I didn’t want people to physically go down there and engage with these people, not just because of Omicron.

"We don’t need any more violence, we don’t need people to start yelling, chanting and screaming over the fence line of these guys. It's pushing back against the minority few down at parliament, it's trending on Twitter and it’s on Instagram and other social media. That is where people are gathering and sharing it. Whenever someone posts something that is conspiracy theory they respond with the hashtag #endtheprotest to send the message instead of engaging with them."

For Tukaki, a protest that is faceless has no mana.

“I think it’s important to not hide behind the pseudonym. I think that it’s really important that, if you speak your truth, then you show your face."