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Government & legal system

Different types of protests

Occupations and sit-ins

Occupations can be of public spaces like squares and parks (like the Occupy movement), public roads or footpaths, or private spaces. To occupy a privately owned space you’ll usually need the owner’s permission, otherwise you can be charged with trespass or have court orders made against you to forcibly stop your protest. For information about Māori-led land occupations, see in this chapter “Whenua Māori me Te Tiriti o Waitangi: Land occupations and claims under the Treaty”.

Are sit-ins legal?

Generally these are legal. But you should allow others to cross the sit-in so as not to infringe on their right to freedom of expression, which they are exercising by not participating in your protest.

Can I block a road?

Summary Offences Act 1981, s 22

Blocking roads through sit-ins or large marches can be a very effective form of protest and awareness-raising. However, there is an offence of continuing to block a road or footpath after having been asked to stop by a police officer. For this you can be fined up to $1,000.

Often a local council will allow you to protest on or march along a road if you notify them first so they can make arrangements for the safety of the protestors and the general public.

Sometimes the police will stop traffic for you while a march occurs.

Can I prevent people from crossing our picket line?

Legally, no. This is interfering with another person’s freedom of expression.

Next Section | Marches

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Activism

Where to go for more support

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Treaty of Waitangi

www.nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/treaty-of-waitangi

This NZ History webpage has information about the Treaty of Waitangi and events and issues surrounding it. The website is run by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Waitangi Tribunal

www.waitangitribunal.govt.nz

This website has information about the Waitangi Tribunal.

To start the Tribunal process of submitting a claim, you can either: call the Tribunal office for queries on (04) 914 3000, or email them at WT.Registrar@justice.govt.nz

Matike Mai Report

www.nwo.org.nz/resources/report-of-matike-mai-aotearoa-the-independent-working-group-on-constitutional-transformation/

Matike Mai Aotearoa is an Independent Working Group dedicated to Constitutional Transformation based on tikanga and kawa in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This report outlines their vision, research and findings.

Human Rights Commission

www.hrc.co.nz

The Human Rights Commission was set up in 1977 and works under the Human Rights Act 1993. Their purpose is to promote and protect the human rights of all people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

www.hrc.co.nz/our-work/indigenous-rights/our-work/undrip-and-treaty/

The UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was set up in 2010 for the purpose of increasing the UN’s commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.

Privacy Commissioner

www.privacy.org.nz

The Privacy Commissioner has a wide range of functions, including investigating complaints about breaches of privacy, running education programmes, and examining proposed legislation and how it may affect individual privacy.

Advocacy organisations and support services

Rainbow Youth

www.ry.org.nz

RainbowYOUTH provide a number of services, including advocacy for queer, gender diverse, takatāpui & intersex youth, their friends, whānau and wider communities.

Disabled Persons Assembly NZ

www.dpa.org.nz

Disabled Persons Assembly NZ provides direct support and advocacy, and work in collaboration with others to achieve inclusion for all New Zealanders.

Mental Health Foundation

www.mentalhealth.org.nz

The Mental Health Foundation has useful links and resources for people dealing with mental health issues.

Helplines

www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support/health-care-services/mental-health-services

Police Brutality & Activist Trauma Support and Recovery

medium.com/@jessieden/a-resource-for-activists-working-through-trauma-82a9807712be

The Police Brutality & Activist Trauma Support and Recovery resource is a booklet made by activists for activists, with accessible information on what trauma is, how it affects people, and ideas for supporting yourself and others through it.

Also available as a book

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