Former New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd made headlines in New Zealand after he declared himself a reformed racist and set to provide better representation for Māori in New Plymouth.
What followed was a very public debate and Judd found himself on the receiving end of verbal abuse and spit as some residents chose to show their displeasure at what he was trying to achieve.
He became a face for Māori representation.
He led a hikoi of peace from New Plymouth to Parihaka calling for better race relations in New Zealand. Nearly 1000 people participated in the 3 day hikoi.
What struck me about Andrew’s story is that he has owned his past, and has been provocatively active on Māori issues. He is not Māori but he recognises that change needs to occur and he can be a part of that change.
Māori activism is not limited to those who are Māori by birth but also those who align themselves to Māori and the challenges they face.
He waka eke noa
A canoe which we are all in with no exception