MFAT confirms safety of Native Affairs reporter and cameraman

By Native Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade  (MFAT) has confirmed that Native Affairs reporter Ruwani Perera and her cameraman Jake Bryant are safe and preparing to return home.

MFAT representatives say they have spoken to Ruwani and she has told them that herself and her cameraman have been treated with respect from Israeli authorities and she was not required to sign any papers. 

Israeli authorities have reportedly retained her phone and will pass it on to the New Zealand Hon Consul in 3 days.

Ruwani Perera and camera operator Jake Bryant were aboard the ship “Marianne” which was detained by the Israeli Defence Force yesterday.

The ship they were aboard was part of the “Freedom Flotilla Coalition” carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza when it was intercepted by Israeli forces. Perera and Bryant were the only New Zealand media invited by KiaoraGaza to observe and document the peace mission.

Approximately 20 people were detained by the Israeli Defence Force yesterday and according to recent reports one member of the group detained was tasered. .

Māori Television’s Head of News and Current Affairs, Maramena Roderick says, "throughout all of this the planning and the processes, the safety of our crew was paramount to Māori Television and the safe return of our crew is the priority.”

Native Affairs boarded the flotilla in Sicily 10 days ago. They were later joined by international media from Al Jazeera, Israel and Russia.

Ruwani and her cameraman are expected to arrive back in New Zealand in the next few days.