Albert Street, Auckland was aloud with honking and shouting last Thursday and for once it wasn’t due to a traffic jam. 60 protesters armed the streets with banners and flags to bring attention to the disgusting display of racism and hatred Paul Holmes showed in his last Herald article.
The article entitled ‘Waitangi Day a complete waste’ was laden with shocking and degrading descriptions of Waitangi Day and Maori people. Holmes claimed Waitangi Day produces ‘hatred, rudeness and violence.’ He continued to say ‘This enables (Maori) to blissfully continue to believe that New Zealand is the centre of the world, no one has to have a job and the Treaty is all that matters.’
John Minto from Global Peace and Justice Auckland was the first to speak at the rally telling people that Holmes has a broad and obvious history of racism, including calling UN Secretary General Kofi Annan a ‘cheeky darkie.’
‘Holmes has only ever attacked the vulnerable people of New Zealand,’ Minto said. ‘His never ending hatred towards Maori is intolerable and we wont stand for it anymore. Holmes has become stagnant in his ways on talkback radio and will only ever target the lowest common denominator.’
The second to speak was Joe Carolan from Socialist Aotearoa. Joe stated Holmes was trying to revamp an ever fading career and as result his actions are further dividing the people of New Zealand.
He went on to say the Herald itself has always held an anti-maori, anti-poor and anti-working class stance. ‘The Herald seeks to destroy ties between the working class, they want us at each others throats,’ Carolan shouted, ‘So we don’t fight back our real exploiters. Let them say what they like, we will not let their hate speech into our homes and into our minds,’ he concluded to loud applause from the crowd.
Kereame Pene from Mana spoke next. His proud confident voice reached the streets as he brought attention to Paul Holmes and Paul Henry using the treaty to divide us. He agreed with Joe that the richest 1% want to separate Maori and Pakeha from unity. ‘We live in this country side by side. We as Maori and Pakeha, will fight and continue fighting for our future generations. We can work, stand and live together, united as one,’ Kereame concluded to exceptional applause.
When the noise had died down Craccum editor Thomas Dykes took the megaphone, While he admitted Holmes has the right to freedom of speech, he did in no way condone hate speech. The crowd agreed as he stated we were all collected in solidarity to show not all Pakeha feel the way as Holmes does. Thomas told the protesters that "Free speech was wasted on Paul Holmes."
Syd Keepa, Vice President of the Council of Trade Unions, spoke next, telling people, 'The Herald has been giving unionists and Maori shit for years.' He too, acknowledged Paul Holmes’ right to dislike protests, but feels this time he has gone too far, 'This article made me feel physically ill. We don’t need this in our country. In this time we need to unify, to rise as one and fight back.' Syd concluded his speech by saying he still had faith in Waitangi Day and told the audience that without protests Maori would not have the Treaty settlements process.
Protesters continued to chant outside the Herald building for around 45 minutes.
-Morgan G. SA