Play for Palestine Charity Event Held By Te Rōpū Māori

Play for Palestine Charity Event Held By Te Rōpū Māori

Kī-o-Rahi and kōrero in protest and support

On Sunday the 5th of May, Te Rōpu Māori held the charity event ‘Play for Palestine’ in support of indigenous people in Pirihitia (Palestine) and the Middle East. Tauira (students) signed up in teams of ten to play touch rugby, volleyball, and kī-o-Rahi for the afternoon. Teams sat on the grass soaking up the sun, whilst others played on the pitch or indulged in the joys of the BBQ.

Speaking to Critic Te Ārohi, TRM Tumuaki Takirua Gemella Reynolds-Hatem and Āpiha Hauora Isobel Edwards-Jull said, “It’s a kaupapa about us as Māori tauira at Ōtākau Whakaihu Waka playing for the indigenous community over back in the Middle East.” Condemning the events overseas, Gemella continued, “There is a genocide that is happening and has been occurring since 1948 with the Nakba and ongoing slow genocide within Palestine, as well as segments of Syria and Lebanon.” In the past 200 days, Israel has killed over 30,000 people, not including deaths in Syria and Lebanon.

Isobel explained how, as a minority, the first thought seeing a struggle like this was to help in any way possible: “It was only right that we did something like this.” As Gemella said, it’s about “giving them a sense of identity in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu hoki.” Gemella has Māori whakapapa through her mum, and Syrian- Lebanese heritage through her dad. Their whānau over in the Middle East have been affected.

Joining the event was Green MP Tamatha Paul, who spoke with students both casually and about the protest specifically. Leaders of the local Dunedin Justice for Palestine group Rinad Tamimi and Dr Mai Tamimi, who lead weekly protests marching from the Otago Museum Lawn to the Octagon, spoke late in the afternoon as the event wound down.

Speaking generally, Isobel stated that it was “a pretty cool day. Everyone’s happy.” She chose to run the event as a sports day, explaining “it was just a really good way to create a positive kaupapa and ensure there was no negativity to do with it.” All proceeds from the event will go to charities assisting in the safe keeping, aid, and support of the people of Palestine.

This article first appeared in Issue 11, 2024.
Posted 5:34pm Saturday 11th May 2024 by Sophie Hursthouse.