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This past Friday I joined a few hundred people who gathered on the slopes of the New Zealand Parliament to commemorate the massive protest that took place a year before.

I was on the grounds of Parliament last year every day but one and saw firsthand a unique and wonderful coming together of New Zealanders from all walks of life in a kind of glorious unity against the mandates that had been illegally and immorally imposed upon us all. What emerged, out of the general good will and spontaneity, was a fascinating community of participants who helped one another generously, stood firm against the puerile tactics of the government to disrupt the peaceful occupation, who smiled a great deal, embraced, who articulated grievances and were determined not to let our unalienable rights be traduced. Throughout that assembly we asked members of Parliament, including our then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, for a meeting, a hearing, an exchange, a debate – we asked, simply, for those people who derived their political power from the people to lend their people an ear.

They did not. Not one of them dared to traverse the steps of the building to greet us, to welcome our questions and our voices. Not once did they do what any democratically imbued government has a duty to do during our time on the people’s soil.

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