Social history of Aotearoa - New Zealand|
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 97 12:58:56 CST
From: Marpessa Kupendua <email@example.com>
Subject: !*Racism, neo-nazis take root in New Zealand immigrant bashing
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 22:22:02 -0600
From: Michael Novick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Racism, neo-nazis take root in New Zealand immigrant bashing
Upsurge in racism worries authorities
By David Barber,
Herald correspondent in Wellington
29 November 1997
A spate of attacks on refugees and immigrants from Asia, Africa and the
Middle East, along with the emergence of a neo-Nazi white supremacist gang,
have focused attention on increasing racism in New Zealand.
A black Englishman and Pakistani, Somali and Iraqi families have all been
victims of racist attacks in Christchurch and Wellington in recent weeks.
The Race Relations Office is threatening to take the Auckland-based
neo-Nazi group Unit 88, which idolises Adolf Hitler, to court for
distributing pro-white and anti-semitic literature. Unit 88 is launching an
apparent nationwide drive for members.
Such events have shocked many New Zealanders, who traditionally pride
themselves on living in a harmonious multicultural society.
Racial tensions have risen in recent years following a wave of Asian
immigration. One in four New Zealanders are now non-European, according to
the 1996 Census.
Authorities were concerned by a series of attacks and abuse on four Iraqi
refugee families by three Maori teenage girls at Lower Hutt, near Wellington.
The Iraqis were forced to flee their homes and settle in another suburb.
The Minister for Maori Affairs, Mr Tau Henare, condemned the attacks. But
another Maori MP, Mr Tutekawa Wyllie, questioned the wisdom of placing
refugee families in areas with high Maori and Pacific Islander populations.
He said immigrants and existing ethnic communities could find it difficult
to relate, and predicted the problem would grow.
The worst attacks have been in the South Island city of Christchurch, where
gangs of skinheads have earned it the label of New Zealand's racist capital.
In one case, a Somali family's home was firebombed. In another, a Pakistani
mother had her veil torn off and her baby pushed into the gutter.
A week ago, about 5,000 people turned out for an anti-racism rally in the
city's main square, organised to show solidarity with victims and denounce
A similar rally will be held in Wellington on Monday, organised by the
Jewish Council, following a police warning that Unit 88 was trying to
establish a branch in the capital.
Police said the gang, which reportedly has bases in several cities on both
islands, was circulating literature urging members to "waste" non-whites.
One pamphlet said: "We have a youth division. We want to teach them to keep
their blood pure, to keep ancestral lines pure. This is not racist - this
Police said undercover intelligence officers were also monitoring several
other racist organisations in Auckland and Christchurch.
One Auckland group is suspected of being linked to attacks and graffiti
against Asian immigrants.
Membership numbers are not large, but police are worried about the growth
of skinhead gangs in high schools and an increasing amount of "white power"
propaganda on the Internet, where they have identified more than 100
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