Police acknowledge apology over radical abuse at Ihumātao

By Taroi Black

NZ Police acknowledge apology by Anikaaro Harawira-Havili over last Monday night where she was seen racially abusing a police officer on Facebook to 'f**k off back to your own country'.

“I want to apologise to that policeman. I also want to apologise to the iwi of Ihumātao. And I also like to send my condolences to those who are caught up in the middle of this,” says Harawira-Havili.

She was part of the protest over the increase of police at Ihumātao on Monday night.

The daughter of Māori activist and former politician Hone Harawira was in utter shock when she allegedly saw Pania Newton, spokesperson for SOUL rammed by police. 

“I was disputing the issue about first nations who were part of the police force. I wasn't directing this argument specifically to Indians, I was shocked to see people to hear them tell us 'Māori' who are the indigenous people of the land that we couldn't jump over the fence to protest.”

District Commander Counties Manukau Superintendent Jill Rogers says “We acknowledge the apology and I remain proud of the professionalism, patience and restraint our staff have shown.”

The protest #ProtectIhumātao has seen ethnicities from many nations and religions across the world arrive to the site which has been disputed by mana whenua in South Auckland over a housing development of 480 homes.   

Anikaaro Harawira-Havili says, “I posted up on Facebook about the amount of ethnicities who have been here to support our cause.” 

This week, Harawira-Havili posted on Facebook admitting she is not a ‘racist’. However, veteran activist Tame Iti who attended Ihumātao yesterday gave her some words of advice.

“Those words obviously came from the gut and she was angry, from there she realised she was in the wrong. It's easy to fall into those traps and to see someone on the receiving end left hurt because of what you said. But she's looking for a way forward,” says Iti.  

“Tame told me he understands this, clearly. It's better to apologise now and not wait till things start to get worse. So, apologise now for a better tomorrow,” Harawira Havili said.

Harawira Havili, 32, is a moko artist who joined the Ihumātao land occupation, giving facial moko tattoos to mana whenua who derive from there and will return in time.