The People of Tokelau Are Citizens of New Zealand
Liz Gunn and her team at FreeNZ Media first alerted us to the plight of Mahelino Patelesio and his family on Tokelau’s Nukunonu Atoll on 3 July 2022. The family had been on house arrest (“tunoa”) under instruction of the Council of Elders (“taupulega”) since 3 August 2021, as punishment for declining the Covid-19 inoculations. This included Mahelino, his wife Ana who has a neurological condition requiring specialist medication, their young adult son and since December 2021, their adolescent daughter.
In 2004 the New Zealand Administrator for Tokelau gave the Tokelau government delegation of authority to make laws. The tunoa was imposed under the Prime Ministership of Jacinda Ardern and the Tokelau Administrator, her father Ross Ardern. It breached the NZ Bill of Rights Act of 1990 and multiple universal human rights laws (including but not limited to the Nuremberg Code and the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights).
Jacinda and Ross Ardern arranged a New Zealand navy ship to transport the mRNA inoculations to Tokelau and Mr Ardern was involved in coordinating the administration of the products community wide. This included his attendance at community meetings in which it is reported he pressured people into believing they needed to take the inoculations to protect each other. He may be a policeman by training but someone in his position has adequate access to information that he cannot lay claim to ignorance of the facts, that these inoculations prevent neither infection with nor transmission of, the SARS-CoV-II virus. There is no truth to his claims otherwise. So what is the motivation behind these actions?
Other families on nearby Atafu Atoll were also under a tunoa. The Patelesio family were forbidden to leave their property and unable to fish for food, relying on donated supplies from neighbouring families. FreeNZ provided updates on the situation of the families on 23 July 2022, and 19 August 2022 in separate interviews with Mahelino, Ana and 15 year old Jipsy. The brutality against these families was not restricted to their long term home confinement, with attacks reported including arson on their property and abuse from neighbours. They experienced emotional and mental trauma which is palpable in the interviews, particularly with Jipsy.
Interest in the Tokelau situation mounted despite the predictable stonewalling from mainstream media, thanks to pressure from FreeNZ. On 21 September 2022, after almost 14 months under house arrest, the tunoa was finally lifted. This followed communication from a group of New Zealand lawyers to the responsible taupulega, informing them of the plan to file applications to the High Court and the United Nations against the tunoa unless the family were released. With one hour remaining, the tunoa was lifted.
The restrictions had already been lifted on Atafu Atoll although mandates remain in place, affecting quality of life for the un-inoculated. Issues remain for the Patelesio family, for example Jipsy continues to be punished by the Education Department (under whose instruction?) for daring to speak out on social media. Communication difficulties persist meaning that it remains unknown, how their so-called “freedom” will unfold.
Watch: Legal Team Celebrate A Win For Freedom on Tokelau
This is a win for the Patelesio family, and a win for the universal human rights being threatened against citizens of New Zealand and the world in the false name of “safety”. The legal team celebrate with caution, acknowledging that one battle has been won, but the war is by no means over.
As at 27 September 2022, six days after their release, contact has still not been made with the Patelesio family. According to FreeNZ Media it appears as though the Tokelau Council are blocking communications.
People won’t forget what’s happened over the last two years. And that reflection, I do believe, will create a snowball effect in people thinking, ‘that wasn’t right, that doesn’t seem like an appropriate response, that was a complete overreach’ … There have been some significant tone changes within the community. ~ Katie, Patelesio Family legal advocate