Hundreds join a march for peace, reconciliation, building better relationships, and racial inclusion - and this all happened in Taranaki. This hikoi will arrive at Parihaka on Friday.
This is the way to do it, this is the way of the past and the way of the future and THIS is the country I want my kids to grow up in - not the dismal, emotionally dried up, uncaring society loved by john key and paula bennett.
Some in the crowd for the first leg of the walk had come from outside of the region to support the peace project.Wellington law student Indiana Shewen, 21, said the debate around Judd's stance on a Maori ward in New Plymouth and the subsequent abuse he copped, led her and other Maori law students to set up a committee that now makes submissions to Parliament on issues affecting tangata whenua.She said she had been upset by her home town of New Plymouth being called by some the "racist capital of New Zealand" and wanted to be part of attempts to turn that negative reputation around."It's important for people to understand it's not just New Plymouth, it's everywhere," Shewen said.Brilliant - so great that they have not just felt it but done something about it - this will help so many people. And yep it IS everywhere and we will fight it EVERYWHERE!!!
Alistair Preese, who travelled from the Bay of Plenty for the hikoi, said he was a fan of Judd and the peace walk's goal.
"I look at reconciliation as a giant jigsaw puzzle and this is a lovely little piece of that," he said.
Preese, who has strong ties to Parihaka, said while Judd's "depth of conviction" struck a chord with him, it was the support he had seen from schoolchildren, some of whom walked or otherwise watched from the sidelines, which he took most heart from.
"Those are the seeds aren't they. We're ploughing the ground here," Preese said.
Yes the seeds that will grow and it is so important that all ages are involved - young, old and in between - this is how you build relationships, this is how we walk to the future together!
Peace Movement Aotearoa's Edwina Hughes said the organisation backed any initiative designed to promote a better understanding of issues related to Maori and Pakeha relationships and the Treaty of Waitangi.
"The injustices against Maori, against hapu and iwi goes on everyday, it is not a historical issue," she said
She said the community forums, which are a key part of the peace walk, were a perfect place for people to come together and share their stories.
Yep - not historical (as in the past so we don't have to worry about it) but real today, in people's lives today. And community forums are awesome - this gives the community the ability to have input, to feel heard and to listen.
So many positives from this - thank you to the organisers and participants - I am proud to support this hikoi.