After nearly 5 years of painstaking legal wrangling, and over 100 years of attacks on Tuhoe, the Operation 8 trial is finally due to start in February. Only four, of the original 18 defendants, will be facing charges.
The raids of October 15th 2007, targeting Tuhoe and radical supporters, are etched into national consciousness. Police officers blockaded the roads leading into the Ureweras, with squad cars and traffic cones along the historic line of confiscation. They broke windows and smashed down doors at Wellington’s 128 Radical Social Centre.
They used terror legislation to justify these attacks, but did not charge any of the defendants with terrorism. Their tactics were designed to demonstrate the power of the capitalist state, installed and maintained through confiscation. Local and global solidarity actions showed the defendants they were not alone.
Tuhoe never signed the Treaty of Waitangi. Their radicalism, embodied particularly in Tame Iti, consists of their demand for self-determination in a territory where they comprise the majority.
On February 13th, the four remaining defendants will face trial at the Auckland High Court, and supporters will mobilise to conduct solidarity actions.