The right to peaceful protest is extraordinarily important in keeping all governments accountable.
The protesters at Parliament demonstrate a most unusual coming together. You have Brian Tamaki's Destiny Church followers; protesters against water reorganisation; protesters against climate change legislation; protesters about the new world order; those believing conspiracies about Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford; protesters about the Government being too kind to Māori and of course, and rightly so, those protesting around vaccination mandates.
The Government must declare a time when vaccination mandates will be removed. We have one of the most successful rollouts of vaccination uptake in the world, according to the source of all truth, Dr Ashley Bloomfield and the Ministry of Health.
On that basis, the health system should not be overwhelmed.
What we must be wary of is when politics fuse with the so-called experts, science and medicine.
The tipping point for all this fusion is now starting to occur and, as a consequence, citizens have a right to know when vaccination mandates will be lifted.
The reality is, I am as likely to contract Covid from a vaccinated person as an unvaccinated person. That is the simple science of it.
I turn now to the predominantly Pākehā protest groups camped outside of Parliament.
I reflect deeply on my own participation in protests, whether it was at Bastion Pt 1978, or standing in several protests and marches against the Springbok Tour of 1981, alongside many Pākehā New Zealanders who also stood up against that tour.
I also reflect on the protest march led by Whina Cooper over the confiscation of our lands, the suppression of our language, and the destruction of our culture as an indigenous people of Aotearoa.
Roll the camera forward to 2004 and we have the largest protest march in the history of Aotearoa over the Foreshore and Seabed legislation. These protests were well organised, with clear lines of leadership and one common agenda.
I was an MP at this time of the Foreshore and Seabed march. I and colleagues chose to go down and face the music. It was a risk to face the crowd but it was our people on the same page, fighting for one cause, so we went down.
It is also our tikanga to hui matters through. Pākehā might know this as a group therapy session.
After the Foreshore and Seabed march, I read a Pākehā commentator advising Māori protesters to go home; get educated; get a real job; and act like nice, Pākeha New Zealanders.
The writer also wanted to know where the Māori elders were who could rein their young people in from protesting at Parliament and become nice - like Pākehā New Zealanders.
Let's flip the narrative for a moment, read those lines again as though a Māori commentator was advising Pākehā protesters to go home; get educated; get a job; and act like nice, Māori New Zealanders. And asking where are the Pākehā elders who could rein in their young people from protesting at Parliament and become nice - like Māori New Zealanders.
From 1975 up to today, Māori protest is often met with contempt, particularly from some Pākehā - as it happens, the large number of folk who just happen to be protesting at Parliament right now.
Their six months under the vaccination mandates, inflicted by their own government, gives today's Wellington protesters a taste of what 182 years of struggle for Māori is about. Now they feel the true gravity of the State taking away rights.
I wonder, when the protesters leave Parliament, whether they will be supportive of Māori rights as we continue to request equality of opportunity in this country?
Such as allowing Māori to have their own data to support Māori communities in uplifting their rights in vaccination status; the establishment of a Māori Education Authority; the establishment of a Māori Parliament.
Wake up, Pākehā people. A party born out of protest, the Māori Party, is the only political voice with a policy that demands the removal of Government vaccination mandates that are used to demonise fellow citizens.
And by the way, I actually have a heap of Pākehā friends, as well.
• John Tamihere is the CEO of Whānau Ora Commissioning and West Auckland Urban Māori organisation Whānau Waipareira. He is also a former MP.