by Daphna Whitmore
Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country.
This action is practical solidarity and moral support for the cause.
The preparation for cooking for so many people is impressively handled by First Union organiser Edith Tamaki. She is the chair of the union’s Runanga and has been the key person making this solidarity happen every week. That involves planning, shopping, stocking everything from food, cutlery, cooking utensils, cleaning equipment, filling gas bottles, keeping food chilled. She and her team boil eggs, prepare salads, butter bread, and peel and slice onions every week. Organiser Neil Chapman brings along homemade soups and delicious bean dishes. He and organiser Mark Muller have grilled thousands of sausages. Louisa Raines Jones from First Union and Sarah Barker from NZNO have been rolling up their sleeves each Sunday too, along with organisers and delegates from many unions.
Redline has covered the background to the dispute here.