MOOHR Peoples Voice

Image credit: People’s Voice 1968

When we honour the great revival in Māori struggle that burst out in the 1970s, the Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland-initiated Ngā Tamatoa – with their dramatic protest actions and Black Panther-inspired flair – are the group who most often come to mind. They deserve all the recognition they have got, certainly, but we should remember also the myriad other protest and campaigning groups that emerged across the country in the 1960s. There was Te Hokioi, a newsletter publicising cases of injustice and grievance. And, coming out of Wellington, there was the Maori Organisation on Human Rights (MOOHR), a pioneering educational and agitational grouping. MOOHR’s story shows how the fight for Māori liberation is at the heart of working-class history and organisation in Aotearoa.



In the decades following the Second World War there was a boom in the New Zealand economy, and businesses found themselves with labour shortages as they tried to keep up with rapid economic growth. This led to big growth in cities and urban centres, and a huge migration of Māori from the countryside to the city. It was a massive, and rapid, transformation. Young Māori found themselves in unfamiliar cities, separated from whānau and familiar ways of life, and concentrated in the lowest paid and most difficult work. The experience was both alienating and exhilarating. Alienating, as ties of language, iwi connection and identity were torn away in the racist city setting. And exhilarating, as young people found friendship connections, sometimes money, and new independence in urban life.

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Recent articles

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José Carlos Mariátegui

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From the archive

Anzac Day: Against the Carnival of Reaction

mobiliseagainstthewarOn Anzac Day 1967, at the height of New Zealand involvement in the ‘American War’ in Vietnam, with New Zealand troops taking part in the suppression of the Vietnamese struggle for national liberation, members of the Progressive Youth Movement in Christchurch tried to lay a wreath following the dawn service in memory of those killed by imperialism in Vietnam. They were arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour. Feminists a decade later faced down a media-driven public outcry when they laid wreaths to the victims of sexual violence during war.

Lest we forget? It’s more like lest we remember. Anzac Day serves as a carnival of nationalist reaction, a day of public ritual aimed at promoting forgetting: forgetting the real legacy of New Zealand imperialism and militarism in favour of a sentimental nationalism, an anti-political celebration of national unity. [Read More…]