It’s very early on Tuesday morning, 14 September. While Auckland awakes, our Kiwi Team are at the airport booking in for their flight to the other side of the world. All except Hone Fowler, who’s already in London where the international aid convoy to Gaza will leave on 18 September. From left: team members Julie Webb-Pullman and Pat O’Dea, Kia Ora Gaza co-organiser Grant Morgan, team captain Roger Fowler, Kia Ora Gaza co-organiser Ismail Waja, vice-captain Chris van Ryn and team member Mousa Taher. “They’re such a great team to represent Aotearoa,” said Ngati Whatua representative Steve Phillips. “Ka mau te wehi!” (amazing, fantastic).
Students from Mangere East School’s combined culture clubs gave a special sendoff performance for the Kiwi Team. Here they get up close to Kia Ora Gaza’s famous truck logo, which will be plastered on the side of our three aid vehicles heading towards Gaza.
Chris van Ryn engages a large crowd of supporters with stirring words of social justice leavened with a bit of humour. Looking on are (from left) Pat O’Dea, Julie Webb-Pullman and Roger Fowler.
Roger Fowler sings the official Kia Ora Gaza song ‘Movin’ On’, our anthem of solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza. The song also pays tribute to the nine civilian aid workers on the last humanitarian flotilla shot to death by Israeli commandos on the open sea in the dead of night. Roger is flanked by the other four departing members of our Kiwi Team.
Te Tai Tonga, a highly rated kapahaka group from South Auckland, give a floor-shaking performance which delights the crowd of Kia Ora Gaza supporters and curious passersby alike. Their final haka came close to generating a seismic wave.
All good things must come to an end. Loud applause for Te Tai Tonga’s standout performance heralds the move by our Kiwi Team towards the departure gates. They’re off to London to join an international convoy which will swell to over 1,000 volunteers driving 500 or more vehicles in the biggest aid convoy since the Second World War. The rest is history!