Despite growing pressure from New Zealand authorities to abandon occupations, those involved locally are showing no signs of slowing down. And they are far from alone with more than 2600 Occupy communities now registered worldwide from Wall Street, New York to Gala Street Reserve, Invercargill.
"The Occupy movement is a microcosm of a new and fairer society," say many of the people of diverse ages, nationalities and professions involved in Occupy New Zealand. These include health workers, trades people, academics, businesspeople, teachers, activists and people in the creative industries.
But what change is it they seek exactly? For occupiers it's less about replacing capitalism with socialism, communism or any other 'ism' and more about creating an alternative system which over time aims to address social and political inequality and the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor.
Sure, members have different ideas about the key problems but they usually come back to one central issue. They occupy in solidarity with movements around the world concerned about the fact that one per cent of the world's population holds a disproportionate amount of the wealth and resources.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
At a local level occupiers condemn the 200,000 New Zealand children estimated to be living in poverty while CEOs and bankers continue to receive exorbitant salaries and bonuses. Many would also like to see more focus placed on the environment and sustainable ways of living as well as increased local participation in decisions which affect us all.
Demonstrations are no new phenomenon in New Zealand society. Precedents such as fighting against apartheid and nuclear policies along with more recent marches against 'the war on terror' and mining of conservation land easily come to mind. But what is perhaps surprising to many is that almost six weeks on, the occupiers are still here.
Not only that, their level of organisation is more impressive than some would expect. Many centres have appointed media teams and the wellbeing of members is protected by a safer spaces policy. Regular general assemblies and workshops on topics such as permaculture and economic s take place. Nationwide networking is also being solidified with Occupy New Zealand Skype calls being held to share ideas and local experience.
Protestors want to make the message clear; it's not just countries like Greece and the USA who are in trouble; New Zealand is no land of equality either and they intend to stay until key priorities change.
So is this all just wishful thinking? No-one really knows. But one thing is sure; people are coming together to exercise their right to protest in the most public way they know how.
It's certainly got everyone talking. The next step and true test of course will be to see what happens next.
Karina Abadia spoke to over 30 occupiers involved in demonstrations in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Read the occupiers' profiles here.