Warning: some of the images in this article may cause offense to some readers. ARTICLE UPDATE: 1.36PM NZT: see below
Image: One of the confronting photos sourced from one New Zealanders Faecbook page
The ugly face of racism and the scourge of Nazism is alive and well in one of the most surprising places on Earth – New Zealand. Known for its push over many decades for racial harmony, cultural tolerance and advanced social policy when it comes to everything from marriage equality to equal rights. In fact, New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote and has long been a bastion for civil rights.
In world war two thousand’s of New Zealanders lost their lives or were injured when fighting against the Nazi regime. So, it was shocking to find that a group of present day New Zealanders thought it was okay to poise in front of Nazi flags and proclaim, “white power” and on the face of it they just look like regular people going about their regular business. The photos, all publicly available on Facebook at the time of publication, carry with them comments such “Hail” and “mine be up tomorrow when this woman leaves” while another person poses, with his face clearly visible in front of a Nazi flag.
In another photo the same poser is again in front of the Nazi flag – this time armed with a gun.
In yet another, two men pose while giving the Nazi salute and in other two people are not only in front of the Nazi flag – they bear Swastika Tattoos on their bodies and proudly show them off.
Clearly several of those involved have access to weapons, as displayed in many of the pictures posted on social media.
All of those involved in commented and posing for the photos in front of a flag that the vast majority of people would find offensive also pose for photos with their children and partners.
And where are these people located? New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty. If it hadn’t have been for one of the group posting on social media about a protest on Matakana Island where local Maori were seeking to resolve long standing issues around tourism flows and its impact on the environment their identities may have remained hidden - behind the closed veil of the notion that its somehow okay to publish not only these photos online, but comments calling other races and cultures into question.
ARTICLE UPDATE: 1.36PM NZT:
Having reached out to one of the men posing in the photos and one who had commented we wanted to share both our questions and their responses to you in the entirety:
When this publication reached out to one of the men posing in the photo and asked “would you like to comment on photos posing with weapons in front of a Nazi flag? And also on your comment posted yesterday "burn the island" in reference to Matakana Island? his response was "Ur story is funny" and "Do some research" When asked a clarifying question: "So thats not you in those images holding a gun in front of a nazi flag?" he responded "Been to prison already for those guns so it's old news."
A second man who made two comments “Hail” and “mine be up tomorrow when this woman leaves” also responded to our questions - we will let you make up your own mind about his responses:
NewsNow: " .... would care to comment on your own comments posted online "Hail" in reference to a friend of yours standing in front of a Nazi flag and "Mine be up tomorrow when this woman leaves..." and "Question: Do you still endorse, salute and support the Nazi flag?"
Reponse: "What are you on about?" Apparently the image we sent him with the attached article wasn't clear enough ....
NewsNow: "The questions are in relation to this image - (seen below) ... Can you confirm those are your comments?"
Response: "Well I am white"
NewsNow: "Is that your response Mr REDACTED NAME? Do we conclude by that answer your comments are accurate and reflect your view?"
Response: "What dose hail mean to you..."
NewsNow: "Mr REDACTED, we are not the ones making the comment merely seeking a response to a comment you have made of an individual posing in front of a nazi flag..."
Response: "That I'm proud to be viking"
NewsNow: "Mr REDACTED, lets not muck around here. Do you support the picture, the Nazi Salute and clearly by the second comment are you in possession of a Nazi flag. Its pretty simple so lets not confuse this with Viking heritage."
Response: "listen to it ... if I was a nazi I wouldn't take the time to respond to you .... I am proud of my family heritage and any flag that I fly in my house is there for nun of your concerns ... and second more you need to do more research before Writing an article you have no comprehension of ..." and "For someone who isn't a nazi that's just silly" and "Looks like a mob flag to me mate ... You should Learn your gangs before you jump up and down ... or could be filthy few ... Don't bring me in to any of it or I'll take this feather as I do not give u promishen to use it ..."
NewsNow: "Did you just make a threat against a News Publication/ ... In writing?"
Response: "Yes I did I will take it to the new Zealand police force then to court..."
Well I have a few questions of my own:
1. When did it become acceptable in any country to condone posing in front of a Nazi flag with a weapon and giving a Nazi salute
2. How is it that someone who clearly has disregard for the law and non-white people is able to obtain and own a gun?
3. Should we not be concerned about the children that appear to be under the care of these people
4. Why has Facebook allowed these photos to be published and even more so – of the thousands of friends who are connected with the people in the photos – how is it that not one of them stood up and called them out. Instead some posting comments supporting their stand.
5. How did it all get to this?
What is perhaps more confronting for me is the location in question is where I am from – the Bay of Plenty. A place that I know would not support, endorse or even contemplate this sort of behaviour. But here it is now for all to see.
(We have cropped the identity of those posing in the photos as well as the identities of those who have commented on the images)
Matthew Tukaki is a broadcaster and of the popular Talking Lifestyle, Second Career, radio show across Australia’s Macquarie Radio Network. He is the publisher of NewsNow.
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