The Terror Raids: An analysis of the criminalisation of green activism in Aotearoa
The objective of this thesis is to identify how criminalisation by mainstream media, police, politicians, ‘the public’ and court processes affected green activists, with specific reference to the Terror Raids of October 2007. Drawing on media analysis - covering news articles from 15 October 2007 to 15 November 2007, and 1 January 2017 to 31 July 2018 - and semi-structured interviews with eight participants (all green activists, two of whom were arrested in the Terror Raids), this research explores the issues of colonisation, activism, criminalisation, and resistance to criminalisation in detail. The research concludes that state agents and mainstream media contributed to a ‘blanket criminalisation’ of activists in the Terror Raids and that this criminalisation had significantly detrimental effects on the activists, whānau , and wider groups. This intense criminalisation was produced as a result of activists being labelled as ‘terrorists’. As a result, the Raids represented an evolution in the criminalisation of green activists in Aotearoa - from inconsistent forms of criminalisation (in which previous criminalising narratives had been joined by narratives relating to democratic freedom and environmental justice) to the application of intense criminalisation by the state and mainstream media of all activists in the Raids. This research demonstrates, therefore, the power of labelling. However, this thesis also identifies the power of green activism and the resilience of campaigners to this intense criminalisation. It emphasises that resistance can survive even when confronted by intense criminalisation and state violence. It concludes by emphasising the significant contributions green activists make to the environmental well-being of Aotearoa and to the international environmental justice movement.