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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Issue 3. 15th March [1976]

'We Are All Losing Our Civil Rights'

'We Are All Losing Our Civil Rights'

Cries of 'we were cheated' all but echoed around the Union Hall last week when the Maori Land forum took place. Most New Zealanders have always suspected things were not quite 'Lily-white' about the time when the Europeans made their language felt in Aoetaroa. But since it happened such a long time ago it's best forgotten. After all, have we heard any complaints from Sid Going or any of the other Maori All Black rugby players? of course not! And they're the only Maoris we take any notice of! Fine rugby players! Fine boys! Maori too!, Oh, isn't it so simple when you don't think about it

With due respect to the average New Zealanders knowledge of our colonial history, the question of Maori land is complex and important, perhaps even more so than the Maori himself realises.

Drawing of a man standing on puzzle pieces

Mr Mihaka stated that if the Maori Land Marchers firmly believe in the principle behind their protest then they will accept the consequences of their actions. That is if they get arrested they will not recognise the charge and will plead not guilty

Mr Mihaka said that many people did not know their reasons for being in Parliament grounds, and so when they were arrested immediately asked for counsel. This, said Mr Mihaka, was stupid, for if they truly believed in the principle for which they were marching, (that is, to get back what is rightfully theres) there would be no need to want legal counsel. To protest and then to be arrested for a belief in a principie and then to say to a lawyer, protect me is wrong.

Roger Steele (who was arrested in Parliament grounds) disagreed with Mr Mihaka that to accept counsel was stupid. He recognises the charges because of the seventy of the issues, but questions Mr Muldoon's actions as he believes Mr Muldoon had no authority to override the Speaker of the House and order the marchers off Parliament grounds.

Mr Steele aks the question: 'who was in control of Parliament at the time the charge of unlawful trespass was made?' Mr Steele firmly believes that because of this charge a lawyer is necessary.