Topic: Australia

Māori whānau in Perth help support Aboriginal community

By Te Kāea
  • Australia

The fight to stop the closure of Indigenous communities in Australia continues to grow on the ground and online.

#sosblakaustralia and supporters of the cause are flooding social media sites with photos and messages of support for Indigenous communities.

Celebrities, politicians and people from across the globe have joined the cause and while a call was put out for more Māori living in Australia to be more vocal and show their support, there are already Māori whānau pitching in to support the communities impacted.

Freedom Patene of Ngāpuhi, Tainui, Taranaki and Ratana has lived in Perth for five years and established ‘We Are One’, a homeless support group for all people in her rohe.

She and her whānau are doing all they can to support the tent embassy of the Nyoongar Tribe and elders who have travelled from afar and come together to fight the closure of Indigenous communities.

Freedom says she has spent a lot of her time working closely with the community, “We have been supporting them by giving koha of tents, solar power showers, clothing, toiletries and water.”

She told Te Kāea the local council has cut off the water supply, stopped rubbish collection in the area and destroyed barbecues that have been used to prepare meat and meals for families camping there.

She says while she does encounter Māori supporting the Aboriginal tribes in her area, more is still needed and is disappointed the wider community has not shown much support and seems relatively disinterested in what is happening.

Raising awareness and educating the masses of the reality facing the Aboriginal communities impacted by the changes, and combating the stereotypical perspective many people hold of the first nations of Australia, is what she believes are key to building more support.

She says more supporters are working on rallying New Zealand bands to play at an event being organised in the area in support of the communities.

For more information on Freedom’s efforts visit the We Are One Facebook page.

Te Kāea has made attempts to contact the Perth City Council, however the organisation has not responded.