Protesters at Stop Co-Governance meeting

Protesters greeted attendees of the second Stop Co-Governance meeting in Invercargill with signs and shouts of "kia ora" at the weekend.

About 60 people attended each meeting.

About 13 people protested at the gates of Ascot Park Raceway on Sunday evening, organised by local woman Lisa Tou-McNaughton.

Mrs Tou-McNaughton was present at the first meeting on Saturday, where she spoke during a public forum of the meeting.

She asked the audience to think carefully about the message being sent.

"I am about unity. God is about unity. He is not about separating people and causing ‘them and us’."

Protesters brave the elements outside Invercargill’s second Stop Co-Governance meeting on Sunday...
Protesters brave the elements outside Invercargill’s second Stop Co-Governance meeting on Sunday night. PHOTO: BEN TOMSETT
Several audience members heckled Mrs Tou-McNaughton as she spoke.

She said she organised the protest on Sunday as she wanted to show there were people in the community who cared about diversity.

"Some of the information that was shared last night was out-and-out lies. Things like [meeting host Julian Batchelor said] ‘my neighbour lost their land because it was in the flight path of a kereru’.

"We had a young wahine Māori ask a question about that last night ... And she was basically shut down, because there wasn’t the evidence for that."

Mrs Tou-McNaughton also spoke about community events such as Matariki and Polyfest, and the differences they had made in the Southland community in regards to understanding other people.

"It just made our community a much richer place rather than the opposite, which was trying to be reported last night."

Protester Laura Turner said she was sick and tired of hearing people in positions of power, especially in Invercargill, bring over a kind of US counter-culture war.

"I’m here to support everyone in New Zealand, but not the racism and the sexism we’re hearing in there."