New Zealand is known for its diversity, ingenuity, and compassion, and for its acceptance of the right to protest – a right that has seen it embrace significant societal change at the forefront of global trends numerous times.
Think the vote for women, the nuclear-free movement, helping end apartheid or the recognition of gay rights.
Indeed, the founding document of our nation, the Treaty of Waitangi, was a giant leap beyond the usual "we're the conquerors, you're the slaves" version of colonisation – brought about, it could be said, by Maori protest at the way they were being treated by the new arrivals.
Okay, it took a land rights march more than a hundred years later for recognition of Te Tiriti and its principles to begin to be honoured, but at least the framework existed, frayed as it was (or still is).
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Now we face a new issue, one which is shared world-wide, demanding our attention: human-induced climate and ecological crisis . It is only natural that those who feel strongly that it must be addressed with urgency will protest against inaction.
Nor is it strange that those who feel their voices are still not being properly or fully heard should look to link equal rights issues to climate change in general – for to a large extent the clash between the oppressed and the oppressors is the fundamental driver behind the problem.
By which I mean, the racial struggle between colonisers and the colonised, or more generally the class struggle between rich and poor, both of which are fuelled by exploitation – of one group over another, and of the finite resources of the Earth, taken merely for profit.
Bundle those together and it is easy to see how tangata whenua involved in the climate protest movement have derived the equation "colonisation equals exploitation equals climate change". And I tautoko that as valid.
But the sixth mass extinction event we are now entering overwhelms divisions of race or relative wealth status. Even the worst exploiters - the fossil fuel sheiks, the arms manufacturers, the chemical purveyors - are making themselves victims in a race to the finish that has no winners.
Papatuanuku, our mother Earth, will not care for us if we do not care for her. She will survive, and eventually recover, whether we are here or not; but only fools can think we can ravage her and keep her blessing.
That those who aspire to lead us have yet to realise the depth of change needed to retain us in the Earth's good grace shows how slim our chance of survival currently is.
National's would-be leader Judith Collins tweeted that Extinction Rebellion (XR) members involved in the Wellington protests were "apocalyptic anarchists" – merely for insisting we must cut our net carbon emissions to zero.
Yet the latest IPCC report, arising from a process endorsed by nearly every nation of the world, insists we must cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 – just 11 years away – to avoid apocalypse.
Worse, perhaps, our Labour Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, reacted by chastising XR for "dipping into illegal behaviour" by "blocking people who are doing practical work" (ie, have a job) in order to raise the alarm.
So much for her grandiose election sentiment that climate change was "her" generation's "nuclear-free moment".
It's everyone's moment, Jacinda; and if anarchy is what we must descend into, Judith, in order to save the planet then that's where XR will willingly go.
Because the point, in case you've missed it, is that our greed-based capitalist dysfunction, our exploitative consumerism that makes the fiction of money our God, has to end. Or we will.
• Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet. Views expressed are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's.