Waiheke Marketplace : March 30th 2011
7 WAIHEKE MARKETPLACE, MARCH 30, 2011 NEWS COMMUNITY FUN DAY 11AM 1PM SATURDAY 16TH APRIL 88 ONETANGI RD WAIHEKE FREE Mr Whippy 1st 500 Icecreams FREE 1st 100 Coﬀees FREE BBQ Sausages FREE Bouncy Castle FREE Face pain ng FREE Fire engine rides WIN Hotlaps in a V8 Super Car WIN Spot Prizes Tea, scones and glad to be nuclear-free Carrying the torch: Peace activists Kara (Kit) Nelson and Maynie Thompson at the world peace walk in 2009. Events in Japan have left many feeling relieved New Zealand is a nuclear-free country. LYNDAL JEFFERIES looks at the part Waiheke residents played in making it happen. Two tenacious women and a peace group have made their mark on an island -- and a country. The Waiheke Peace Group was formed in the early 1980s by residents concerned about the dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Kit Nelson and Kara (for- merly known as Kit) Thomp- son became friends in 1983 as members of the group. Other members included Bernard Rhodes, Margaret Mills, Tre- vor Darville and two Waiheke protesters known as Lynx and Skate. Some of them had taken part in the protests against nuclear submarines and warships in Auckland har- bour in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Bernard Rhodes drove the boat that dropped Lynx and Skate on the front of a nuclear submarine in Auck- land harbour in the early 80s. Over the years the group has organised peace marches in New Zealand and has taken part in peace marches and protests overseas. The first march was from Matiatia to Oneroa in 1983 -- around 400 women and chil- dren took part. We decided to walk for peace as we didn't know what else we could do,'' Maynie says. The group then lobbied the Waiheke County Council to put signs at the wharf declaring Waiheke a nuclear- free zone. Then they started a letter writing campaign to every local council urging them to do the same. Maynie says: After the Waiheke walk, we thought, why shouldn't we make it big- ger and walk all the way to Wellington?'' In 1984 Maynie and the Waiheke mums' army'' em- barked on a two-month Walk for Life on Earth to the steps of Parliament to urge the gov- ernment to declare the country nuclear-free. She says: I walked every step of the way, stopping in all the small towns to talk to people about what we were walking for.'' Along the way they were invited to travel to Greenham Common in England to join a women's camp protesting against a United States Air Force base which housed cruise missiles. Six women from Waiheke were arrested when they cut through the fence and danced on the airfield. In 1986, Maynie joined the nine-month Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament across the United States, with friends Anne Macfarlane, Trevor Darville and Trevor's 11-year-old daughter. It ended with Maynie's proudest moment'' -- speak- ing at the November 1986 rally on the steps of the Lin- coln Memorial. Back in New Zealand, the letter writing campaign and peace marches proved fruitful and 79 percent of local councils were nuclear-free by the time the Labour govern- ment passed its nuclear-free legislation in 1987. In 1996, the French gov- ernment resumed nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll in the South Pacific. Kara and Maynie, who had both turned 77, sprang back into action, joining the Women's Peace Flight to Tahiti. They are now in their 90s and the work continues. Doing things like this keeps us going,'' Kara says. They have been part of peace marches on Waiheke in the past two years and have been following the nuclear disaster in Japan closely. Kara says: I am dismayed Japan has gone on to build 15 nuclear power stations after being bombed by atomic weapons in World War Two. I wish other governments had listened to their people like ours did.'' Maynie is concerned about the effects of nuclear radi- ation from the damaged power station on the inno- cent people of Japan''. Kara says: The most important thing is to keep our eyes and ears open and try to read between the lines to find out the truth about what is happening.'' In 2009 Susi Newborn and Claudi Pond-Eyley made a film honouring the two women titled Kit and Maynie: Tea, Scones and Nuclear Dis- armament, which is available from the library. In the film, former prime minister Helen Clark says: People like Maynie and Kit and many thousands like them made a huge difference in bringing public opinion to the point where the govern- ment had to take a stand.''
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