Book Review “Whakapohane”

March 30, 2011

By Te Ringa Mangu (Dun) Mihaka & Diane Patricia Prince

Ruatara Publications, 1984

Reviewed by Mike Kay, Workers Party Auckland and The Spark editorial board. This article first appeared in the April issue of The Spark.

As the media ramps up the hype around the Royal Wedding on April 29, now seems like a good time to revisit a period in New Zealand history when there was a republican movement willing to take militant action against the Monarchy.

During the 1983 Royal Tour of New Zealand by Prince Charles, Diana Princess of Wales and their infant son William, Dun Mihaka achieved international notoriety by performing a “whakapohane i te tou” (baring of the buttocks) in front of the Royal limousine as it exited Wellington Airport. He was immediately arrested following his protest. The brutality of the arrest (two police officers forced him to the ground) provoked his confidante and wife, Diane Prince, to attack the police, and she herself was taken into custody. This book is essentially the story of the resulting trial. The authors have left us with a superb example of how to present a political trial; they effectively put the whole system - police, courts, media, politicians and the Monarchy itself - on trial. Read the rest of this entry »


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