The ransacked grounds of Parliament reopen to the public after the violent end of the occupation

The Parliament grounds officially reopen to the public this morning, after the 23-day anti-mandate occupation cut them off from the city.

The ground was set on fire and ransacked as the protest turned into a riot on March 2 when police intervened to shut it down.

The pitch was closed for two weeks while a cleanup took place.

A ceremony co-hosted by President Trevor Mallard and Te Ātiawa Taranaki begins for guests at 7:45 a.m.

READ MORE:
* Te Āti Awa works to restore the Parliament grounds mauri after the occupation and riots
* Baptism of fire: The police operation that ended the occupation of Parliament
* Iwi takes an unprecedented stand against the ‘abusive’ protesters who invaded the marae

It is a Te Whakapiki Mōuri – which involves awakening the life force of the iwi’s tūpuna whenua (ancestral lands) and healing the wounds of recent events, according to a statement from Mallard.

A contingent of local church leaders, school representatives, iwi, council workers and local business owners were among the guests.

Protesters set fires, including burning down the Parliament Recreation Yard, as they resisted police action to remove them from the grounds on March 2.

Ross Giblin / Stuff

Protesters set fires, including burning down the Parliament Recreation Yard, as they resisted police action to remove them from the grounds on March 2.

Te Ātiawa held a dawn ceremony on March 6 to settle the mōuri (life force) of the land.

Mayor Andy Foster said he wanted to acknowledge that the reopening coincided with the third anniversary of the mosque attacks and that he agreed with Christchurch that the capital needed to find a way to heal from the “emotional feeling of an invasion of residence”.

“Here is a group of people who entered our city and interrupted our right to move freely and without fear,” he said.

Contractors continue to prepare the grounds at Parliament on Tuesday afternoon

KEVIN STENT

Contractors continue to prepare the grounds at Parliament on Tuesday afternoon

Mallard said a community event for the reopening would take place in the future when Covid-19 safeguards allowed.

He acknowledged the disruption caused by the protests and said he was proud that the Parliament grounds remain open and accessible for Wellington residents “to use this space as a thoroughfare, to sit with their children, to have lunch, to submit their petitions and stage their protests.

Police destroyed most of the property confiscated from protesters, after it was classified as a nuisance under the Health Act.

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