On Sunday morning, the Whareroa Fonterra Dairy factory, the Kapuni Ballance fertiliser factory and the Todd Energy gas plant were locked down simultaneously by 50 activists, to demonstrate the invasion of Parihaka in 1881 and theft of millions of hectares of Māori land and resources across the country. The blockade which disrupted business as usual at three sites. Climate Justice Taranaki and allies drew attention to the ongoing global colonial project which is a driver of climate crisis and social crises such as the invasion of Palestine.
Tuhi Ao Bailey from Climate Justice Taranaki says, “Te tangata tōmua, te whenua tōmuri. Today in 1881, our tupuna put their bodies on the line to protect our whenua, as we are doing again here now. We need to protect not just our whenua but the entire planet. The fossil fuel, fertiliser and agricultural export industries are Aotearoa’s biggest climate polluters. They cannot continue business as usual with a few tweaks like methane vaccines, offshore wind turbines and hydrogen fuel. That won’t cut emissions or fix any of the social injustices. Farms keep getting bigger while staff numbers plummet. The economics just don’t add up. We need urgent systemic change that provides for everyone’s needs and rapidly draws down carbon from the atmosphere.”
“Before the invasion of Parihaka in 1881, about three thousand people lived together and grew kai in and around the pā. There was rich forest, wetlands, maara kai and healthy rivers and reefs, where now there is almost endless grassland that very few people can sustain a decent living on. We want those in our wider community to see that there is a much healthier and happier way to live that does not destroy our planet, if we ditch fossil fuels and dairy and give land back for reforestation and communities,” says Bailey.
The protest, led by Climate Justice Taranaki, drew support from a variety of climate groups across the country. Generation Zero volunteer Daniel Rawhiti Davis says, “Generation Zero is proud to stand in solidarity with Climate Justice Taranaki – Parihaka, Palestine and Indigenous Ieoples globally in the resistance against colonisation on Te Pāhua. Honouring Te Tiriti, Land Back and the hauora of our indigenous peoples is essential to our just transition to a zero-carbon future.”
350 Aotearoa campaigner Adam Currie says, “For years environmental justice activists have fought alongside communities against the various harms these factories cause. This week at the Pacific Island Forum, Pacific leaders and communities are calling on the New Zealand Government to back a Leaders Declaration for a just transition to a fossil fuel free Pacific – while National, Act and NZ First talk about reopening offshore to oil and gas exploration. We’ve come together in Taranaki on Parihaka day to renew our commitment to climate justice that gives land back to mana whenua, and ends the age of fossil fuels.”