Jeanette Fitzsimons visits occupiers in Wellington.

October 27, 2011

There have been a lot of very interesting workshops and discussion groups facilitated by the campers at Occupy Wellington, with many outside speakers coming down to share an hour or two with those interested.

On Wednesday, despite afternoon rain that left the campsite soggy and some spirits dampened, former Green MP Jeanette Fitzsimons stopped by the campsite with some of the crew from Generation Zero, to talk in an informal open discussion about climate change, activism, and her own personal political history.
She was only in Wellington for a day for meetings, and graciously added a visit to Occupy Wellington to her schedule. The discussion began around 4.30pm, and needed to finish promptly at ten to six, as she was part of a panel on MMP speaking at Te Papa, just across on the waterfront from the campsite.
Despite much tent-shifting and space-changing that had gone on in the previous two days of wind and rain, one useable space was ‘floor-cleared’, and the talk began with a carpet of young people closely snugged-up in the largest water-tight tent available. Jeanette took this all in her stride, joking that her plastic chair made her look enthroned amongst the cross-legged throng seated on the canvas floor.

The cosy tent workshop

The cosy tent workshop

The spare floor-space seen in this photo was quickly filled up by late-comers, and the discussions were intelligent and humourous as Jeanette responded to questions about what got her into activism, some practical details about how groups were organised back in the 70’s and 80’s before the internet came along, and some personal reminiscences about her days in the Values party during the long campaign against nuclear shop visits to Aotearoa, which culminated in the passing of the Nuclear-free legislation that we all take so much for granted these days.

This is how the campsite was looking on the day:

Jack Illott Green showing it's swampy derivation

Jack Illott Green showing it's swampy derivation

Note the larger puddly bits – it has been getting very muddy and boggy in places around the campsites, which are beginning to be referred to as ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ – there has been some movement of tents to allow the grass to air again where yellowing is taking place, so don’t think that all those yellow patches refer to campers who have left – it’s just some grounds management going on.

Next up for the camp is another weekend of workshops and speakers 29-30th October, and then some hijinks for Halloween, as Capital E puts on events for children after-school and early evening, which may encourage some halloween dressups by the locals of Occupy Wellington. There’s also a critical mass bike ride on the 28th October, 5pm from Civic Square, with a Halloween costume theme.

Lots to see and do, pop by if you’re in town and at a loose end, looks like the weather is clearing up in time for the weekend events.

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