Native Affairs reporter arrives home safely

By Native Affairs , Ruwani Perera
Native Affairs team members Ruwani Perera and Adrian Stevanon

Native Affairs reporter Ruwani Perera has arrived home safely after a tumultuous few days being held and questioned by the Israeli Military.

Ruwani says “"I was taken against my will, my belongings stripped from me, I'm just happy to be home."

Jacob Bryant who was the camera operator working with Ruwani is also safe and well and he has continued on to another job in Paris.

Ms Perera and cameraman Jacob Bryant were on one of the flotilla boats following a group of Palestinian activists attempting to break through the blockade to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The Native Affairs crew were aboard one of the ships in the Freedom Flotilla III when it was seized by Israeli forces. Their footage arrived at Māori Television just hours before contact was lost.

Their boat, The Marianne, was towed to the port Ashdod overnight and members of the flotilla were then taken to Tel Aviv. New Zealand embassy officials confirmed they had spoken to Perera and say she assured them the crew was safe and had been treated well at the time.

Native Affairs was the only New Zealand media invited by KiaoraGaza to join international media who were reporting on the peace mission.

The flotilla was trying to breach Israel's exclusion zone on Gaza and take supplies to Palestinians on the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli blockade on Gaza has been in force since 2007, claiming to stop shipment of arms and terrorist attacks on Jewish citizens.

Palestinians say it’s turned Gaza into the world’s largest jail.

Janfrie Wakim says, “This is an outrage. This is a humanitarian crisis and the world is turning a blind eye.”