Gaille | Kelston

Thank you, Islam. Our heart, our heart certainly goes out to you.

If there’s any group that’s most marginalised, most isolated, most misunderstood, is you and yet the more we get to talk to you, the more we realise, you’re so much like us, but we listen to the mainstream media all the time, and we buy into what they say about you. It’s not until we have that communication. We need to talk to more Muslims. We need to make eye contact with them. When we’re in the groceries, when we’re doing, kia ora. That’s what we need to do. We need to start building bridges with what is similar to us, and we don’t even know it. They have the same concept of whanaungatanga. They have the same concept of sharing, caring. All of that is familiar to us. So, aroha to you, the Muslim community.

What do I think about what happened in Christchurch on Friday? A number of things actually. I’m really sad that one it happened. What’s happening around the world visited our shores, but I think we have to remember that, there’s a lot of korero out there, they’ve brought the terrorism here to New Zealand and all that, but white supremacy, the ideology of white supremacy has been around since mai rānō. It’s just now its come out.

It’s the straw that’s broken the camel’s back, so to speak. Everybody’s talking about racial issues here in New Zealand. It’s actually lifted the lid off what’s happening here in New Zealand, and New Zealand was established on that same premise. The white supremacy, ‘I know better’, ‘we are better than’, ‘everyone else is our servant’. So, you know, that collateral damage is what we are, collateral damage to the few that have control. So, unfortunately, what happened in Christchurch was the lid that came off what’s been happening here since Parihaka, since Tūhoe, since the, it wasn’t even an invasion. We welcomed the Pākehā in, and then they turned around and they stole land from us. They killed our babies. They killed our women. So terrorism to Māori isn’t a new thing. It’s historical. You can make that connection.

I think if anything that’s come out of this unfortunately for the Muslim community, is that they’ve lifted the lid off what has been present here and bubbling for many years. All the policies, all the legislation that comes out, you can guarantee it’s, that’s the base that all those decisions are made from. We need to talk about that stuff.

I was brought up in Waitahanui the first seven years of my life, and then industrialisation took over which tore our family to bits. Mum and Dad had to move to Hastings, and it was all white around there. In Waitahanui you go to your Auntie’s fruit tree, you pick a fruit, but you’re only allowed to take what you can eat because there are other kids there. So, we go from that over to Hastings, where if you pick the fruit off their tree, they’ll shoot you. We had farmers, orchardists shooting pellets at us. Something normal to us wasn’t normal to them. We didn’t understand. So, that was my first year of learning how to, how to cope in a strange, difficult environment where there was no love. There was hostility. Even at school every morning I was strapped at school for being two minutes late, winter, no matter what, on the tip of the fingers. Sore. Really sore, and that’s for being late at school. So, I sort of saw myself as being a punishment for being me, and I just, I’ve woke up and thought, no that’s bullshit.

If I had anything to say for encouragement and support is, just keep doing what you’re doing. There’s more people out there than ever before that know about you. Just keep on doing what you do. You know? Don’t react, because if you react, all your support will go against you. The media will have a feast on you. So, just keep on doing what you’re doing. That’s all I can say.”

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