Farmers take over streets in protest

Tractors and utes took over the town as the protest made its way down the main street.

Blair Voorend was in Te Awamutu with this camera when the rural protest hit town. Thanks too to Helen Knight for providing shots from Ōtorohanga and Te Awamutu.

It was gridlock in Te Awamutu as people from all over the region gathered to show their distaste at laws impacting the farming and trade communities.

With hundreds gathering at the old Bunnings site in Arawata St everyone seemed to be in good spirits with people rallying around farmers.

The Howl of a Protest saw thousands taking part in the nationwide protest last Friday as more than 50 towns and cities came to standstills as tractors and utes took over the streets to protest a range of issues from methane taxes, EV subsides and the Three Waters project.

Hundreds turned up to support the protests

Organiser Lee Smith said she wasn’t at all surprised by the number of people that came out to show their support as she had been field calls from people all week.

She had taken called from “not only from farmers and tradies who wanted to know more about the event but also from many in the local region who just wanted to learn more about what we are doing and how they can show their support”.

“It’s something that not only farmers and tradies have issues with but the greater community know the pressure on these industries already and with added changes will create greater challenges for them.”

Farmers had a clear message for the government.

People near and far came out to support and it wasn’t just rural folk.

Philomena Bennington came from Hamilton, while her friend Christine Wroblenski travelled down from Auckland to show their support.

“We’re not farmers or rural people at all but we know the importance of the farming industry for our country and how it’s the backbone for New Zealand,” Bennington said.

“And it’s insulting to all those that have worked to hard to keep our country afloat especially during a difficult year last year, and for the government to put quick extreme changes on them isn’t fair.”

Philomena Bennington had a clear message for those listening while also sporting a reimagined MAGA sticker (make Ardern go away) used by many at the event.

Following a convoy out of Te Awamutu to Ōtorohanga those involved in the protest met up with others from Otorohanga and Te Kuiti regions to discuss the issues.

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