Mike Treen

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Mike Treen

Mike Treen is a life long socialist activist and National Director of Unite New Zealand, a union which has "successfully organized young workers in fast foods".[1]

"Let them Stay" forum


May 2021 with with Mike Treen, Marja Lubeck, Anu Kaloti, Ricardo Menendez March‎ at Migrant Workers Association of Aotearoa.

"Victory it is"


With Mike Treen, Marja Lubeck, Anu Kaloti, Ricardo Menendez March‎ at Migrant Workers Association of Aotearoa.

Socialism and Māori Sovereignty

Grant Brookes May 31,2014·

How can socialism and Māori Sovereignty co-exist? It's a question we need to answer - and soon - if MANA is going to be as strong as it needs to be, said Hone Harawira at the "Capitalism: Not Our Future" conference today.

It's a question I've been thinking about, too: http://fightback.org.nz/.../tino-rangatiratanga-whats-it.../


— with Sue Bolton and Mike Treen, Bill Logan, Adaire Hannah, Ben Ritchie, Joe McClure , Hone Harawira, Joel Manu Cosgrove, Heleyni Pratley at Capitalism Not Our Future - A conference on struggle, solidarity and socialism.

Opposing the Vietnam War

In the late 1960s , Treen "played a leading role in organising high school students to oppose the (Vietnam) war." [2]

Student Activism

In the 1970s, at Auckland University, Treen "helped lead the Campaign Against Education Cutbacks, organized student support for the Bastion Point land struggle and opposition to the government's racist immigration policies toward Pacific Islanders and overseas students. He served on the Auckland University Students Association executive for 3 years" [3]

Secondary Schools Students Association

In the early 1970's, Treen was an originator of the Secondary Schools Students Association. [4] By 1972, he had become the Auckland regional secretary of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Students Association.[5]

High School Students Against the War

In 1971, Treen was coordinator of High School Students against the War. [6]

High School Anti-war Committee

On June 12 1971 , Treen attended an anti-war group's national representative meeting at Victoria University, representing the High School Anti-war Committee.

Involvement with the New Zealand Labour Party

In 1972, Treen was Auckland coordinator for Young Socialists for a Labour Government He had also become the Epsom branch delegate to the Labour Youth conference and the Labour Party conference.

Argentine Defence Campaign

In 1973, Treen was involved in the Argentine Defence Campaign (for political prisoners). [7]

In furtherance of his interest in Argentinian politics from a left-wing perspective, on May 7, 1982, Treen wrote "The Malvinas are historically and economically part of Argentina". [8]

Sharpeville Day rally

On March 21 1973, Treen, as a Young Socialists member, addressed a Sharpeville Day rally in Auckland [9]

Democratic Youth Front meeting

On May 13 1973, Treen attended a reception for 20 Soviet youth organized by the Democratic Youth Front, youth wing of the pro - Soviet Socialist Unity Party. He said the delegates were "too conservative on foreign policy and morality". [10]

Attempted Expulsion

In 1975, Treen tried to take action to have a law student and policeman - Ray Stapleton - debarred from the University of Auckland. Treen and the Auckland University Students Association had been trying to kick Stapleton out the the University since he entered in 1970.[11]

Auckland Education Action Committee

In 1976, Treen became a member of the executive of the Auckland University Students Association and a member of the Auckland Education Action Committee. That year,he wrote a report for the publication Socialist Action on Auckland Education Action day. [12]

Treen and the Young Socialists

Mike Treen was a long time leader of the Young Socialists, the youth wing of the Trotskyist Socialist Action League.

In 1973, Treen was one of 6 Young Socialists elected to the Auckland University Students Representative Council. [13] In 1973, Treen ran as a Young Socialists candidate for the Auckland University Students Association administration vice-presidency. [14] In 1975, Treen became an Auckland University welfare officer and Young Socialists leader. [15] In 1975, Treen addressed a panel discussion on "socialism in NZ" at Waikato University, organized by the Auckland Young Socialists. [16] On August 16 1975 , Treen addressed a Young Socialists educational conference at Auckland University, on "dissent and repression in Malaysia." [17] On April 23-25 1977, Treen addressed the Young Socialists 3rd National Convention, at Victoria University.He spoke on international affairs. [18] In 1978, Treen had become the National Secretary for the Young Socialists.[19] In 1978, Treen was elected Young Socialists national co-ordinator. He also addressed the Young Socialists (4th ) National Conference in Wellington,on Queen's Birthday weekend. [20] In 1979, Treen was a Young Socialists national co-ordinator and editor of its newspaper. [21] Later that year, he had become the National Secretary of the Young Socialists.[22]

Anti-Security Intelligence Service activities

On October 21 1977, Treen addressed ~1000 protesters at a picket outside the Auckland offices of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS). They were protesting against the SIS Bill. Treen was on the organizing commitee of that event. On October 28 1977 , Treen, as part of the Auckland University Students Association, addressed an anti-Security Intelligence rally on Queen St, Auckland. [23]

Treen and the Trotskyists

In 1978, Treen was named as a speaker at the Trotskyist Socialist Action League's 5th National Conference held at Otaki. [24] In late 1980, Treen became a staff writer for Socialist Action - the newspaper of the Socialist Action League.[25] In June, 1981, Treen was on the editorial board of the Socialist Action Review- the theoretical journal of the Socialist Action League - (and also became editor of same). On October 2 1981,Treen became Socialist Action editor. [26] By January 27 1984, Treen was still the editor of Socialist Action Treen stated that "...I left the Socialist Action League at the time I left for Japan (around 1994) as it turned in an increasinly sectarian and abstentionist direction."

International Affairs position at Victoria University

In 1978, Treen was elected as Victoria University's international affairs officer in which he beat fellow contender Don Murray, a Maoist. [27]

Union activism

In 1978, Treen became an employee at the Southdown freezing works. [28] In 1980, Treen was described as a worker on Southdown mutton chain.[29] He worked at Southdown until it's closure.[30] In addition to this work, Treen worked at a range of other industrial jobs including work at car plants and was "often involved in struggles to improve wages and working conditions." Treen was to note that in the 1980's..."I involved myself actively in supporting fellow workers on the job and trying to strengthen the union. This was not always appreciated by the management and was twice sacked for my efforts following significant strikes at factories I was working in (on both occasions the company went to the trouble of hiring private detectives to find a reason)." In 2003, Treen was an organiser in Auckland for the Unite union. He was also, in that same year,an organiser in Auckland for the Clothing Allied and Laundry Workers Union Aotearoa.

In Defence of the Soviet Union

In September 1978 , Treen spoke at a forum organized by the Maoist Progressive Students Alliance in Wellington in which he defended the Soviet Union saying "it had no imperialist tendencies." In 1980, Treen indicated on page 7 of the February 1 1980 issue of Socialist Action , that he supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and opposed sanctions against the Soviet Union.

Racist acusations

In 1979, Treen was reported as having denounced the Auckland Engineering student's "Haka Party" as "racist" (the "haka" is a Maori war dance).[31]

Disorderly Behavior

On March 1,1980, Treen was arrested for disorderly behaviour and appeared in court on 17 March. [32]

Latin American activism

Treen noted that in the 1980's, he "...played a leading role in Central America solidarity work. I was co-ordinator of the Wellington Latin America Committee, national co-ordinator of the Nicaragua Must Survive Campaign and convenor of the national conference for Peace and Justice in Central America. I remain involved in the NZ Cuba Friendship Society.

New Zealand Labour Party membership

On October 3 1980, Treen was described in Socialist Action as once being a member of the New Zealand Labour Party's Epsom branch.[33]

Maori Land Occupation Article

On May 15 1981, Treen wrote a report for Socialist Action on the May 3 Bastion Point meeting on Orakei Marae.Bastion Point was at that time, occupied by Maori activists, some of them being of the extreme-left.[34]

Anti - Apartheid article

On June 12 1981, a report written by Treen was published on white South African anti-apartheid author and editor Donald Wood's talk at the Auckland Anglican Maori Mission,which took place on June 3, 1975 which he attended.[35]

Maori extremist interviewed

On October 23 1981, Maori extremist Syd Jackson was interviewed in Socialist Action by Kathy Lissienko and Mike Treen. [36]

Struggle for dominance with Maoists

On October 30, 1981 in Socialist Action, Treen accused New Zealand's main Maoist organization, the Workers Communist League, of holding protesters partly responsible for tour violence. He said "a number of central organisers of the Coalition to Stop the Tour - (COST) - were members of the WCL, including the chairmen of COST's marshalls Committee - Alick Shaw. (COST was a pressure group in New Zealand opposed to sporting contacts - particularly pertaining to rugby - with South Africa).[37] In the WCL's paper called Unity, Shaw retaliated and accused those concerned with "domestic racism" of trying to "hijack the movement". [38] Further, Shaw, in an article in the Victoria University student's newspaper called Salient, accused the protesters of "attacking the police".[39]

Report on anti-nuclear meeting

On November 19 1982, Treen wrote a report in Socialist Action on the November 5-11 conference at Tatai Horo Marae - ( a maori meeting house) - in Auckland, organized by the Pacific Peoples Anti-Nuclear Action Committee (PPANAC). The organiser was Maori extremist Ripeka Evans, who was interviewed. Over 200 attended.[40]

Treen, would-be councillor

In 1990, Treen stood for the local council in Manurewa, Auckland, on the Communist League ticket. He won 8 votes. The Socialist Action League had become the Communist League in 1988. Certainly Treen stood as a candidate in several elections.

Teaching and migrant work

In 1994, Treen started working as a teacher of English as a second language and has worked in Japan and with new migrants to New Zealand. Treen left the Communist League around the time he moved to Japan.

Involvement with the Alliance Party

At the beginning of 1996, Treen joined the Alliance Party in Auckland. By 2000, Treen held the Chair of the Alliance Party in Auckland. At the beginning of 2001, Treen went to work at parliament after the election of the Labour Alliance Coalition government. After September 2001,and the capitulation of the majority of MPs to support the government decision to send SAS to Afghanistan, he resigned and helped lead the resistance to that decision in the Alliance. This debate continued right through 2002 and was resolved finally only with the defection of the parliamentary majority from the Alliance. The Alliance subsequently failed in its bid to return to parliament (getting only 1.5%) although the leader Laila Harre came a close second in a West Auckland working class area. The Alliance subsequently tried to develop a left wing manifesto and become a more explicitly socialist group. Some of us saw the need the reorient the left to the working class if its "programme" was to match its targeted constituency. The then Alliance leader Matt McCarten and myself helped initiate a new union organising drive through a very small (less than 200 members) union called "Unite" which was led by some Alliance comrades in a voluntary capacity for workers who didn't fit traditional union structures. In the last two years we have organized over 3000 workers and see no reason we can't organise thousands more. In 2002, Treen was number 9 on the Alliance Party's parliamentary list. In 2002, Treen, by now an Alliance Party National Council member,he had been selected as the party’s Auckland Central candidate for the coming election. However, he resigned his position as personal secretary to Cabinet Minister Matt Robson (a former Socialist Action League comrade) in protest against Robson’s decision to go against Alliance policy and support the US-led war against Afghanistan. As the party’s International Secretary, Treen says he has a special responsibility to highlight the party’s opposition to the "corporate free-trade agenda backed by all the parties to our right" from Labour to Act.

"This agenda goes hand-in hand with a dangerous unilateralism and militarism in the US government that threatens new wars over the world’s oil and other resources. The Alliance will be the antiwar party in this election."

Socialism 2000 conference

In May 2000, Treen was speaker along with former Socialist Action League comrade Keith Locke and Joe Carolan at the Socialist Worker's Organisation's Socialism 2000 "hui" -(a maori term for a meeting)- at Metro College. The topic discussed was "Is Global Capitalism Under Seige?"

Involvement with Global Peace and Justice

On Monday 11th February 2002, a meeting was called to discuss the formation of a Network for Global Peace and Justice. The purpose of such a network was to help strengthen the efforts of the many groups already working on a whole variety of issues and to perhaps give a collective voice to concerns they hold in common. The meeting was held in the Trades Hall, 157 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland, Monday 8th April. The invitation to this had the following footnote: "Yours in Solidarity, Terry Dibble, Maire Leadbetter, Mike Treen, John Minto, Jane Kelsey, Dave Colyer, Lynne Serpe, Len Richards, Love Chile, Geraldine Peters. Treen , along with veteran activist John Minto, comprised the two main contacts for this left-wing pressure group Global Peace and Justice which was primarily Auckland based. As Treen was to say: "Over the last few years I have also been one of the main leaders of Global Peace and Justice Auckland which organized the large antiwar marches around the Iraq war and intervention in Afghanistan and tries to network all the groups in Auckland concerned with peace, justice and globalization issues.

Inspired by the Green Left Weekly

In 2002, Treen extolled the virtues of the red/green publication the Australian Democratic Socialist Party, ( a Marxist-Leninist organization) Green Left Weekly to which he subscribed. He noted that, "as an activist in campaigns against US-led military intervention in the Gulf or Afghanistan", he could rely on this as an invaluable source of useful material for this purpose.(Indeed he has been involved in the antiwar movement in Auckland since the US-led assault in 1990.) Moreover, as a member of the Alliance Party, he found it inspiring with its broad coverage of attempts to build left-wing alternatives in various countries, in particular as some of this may be applied in New Zealand. In the early 1990's, Treen was obviously pleased, then to be able to speak to the Green Left Weekly's Sibylle Kaczorek. Treen was, at this time, the foreign affairs spokesman of the New Zealand Alliance Party,and was in Australia for the Socialist Alliance's third national conference,in Melbourne held from May 8 to 9.[41]

Social Forum Aotearoa

In 2003, a left-wing group called Social Forum Aotearoa had established local contacts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch which were to provide assistance and registration services. The contacts were:

Alliance Party and the Maoris

In 2004, Treen was to note; "Attempts to form Maori parties in the past have never had as widespread support as the push that is occurring at the moment. It could well be that there will be a major realignment of politics in Maori society and that an independent Maori party could be formed. I think it is a progressive political development and the Alliance Party should collaborate with these people. We would want to encourage this party to have a left-wing social program, which I think is the natural thing for a Maori party, given that most Maori are working class and have traditionally had an allegiance to the Labour Party because of the progressive social policies that Labor has had in the past." [42]

"Workers Charter" forum

On Friday, August 5, 2005, at 6pm, at the Unite Office, (office of the Unite union), located at 6a Western Springs Rd, Morningside, Auckland, the Workers Charter forum was held. These weekly forums were held to "discuss issues of concern to working people". Unionists Luke Coxon, Carol Bridgens and Mike Treen reported back on an Asian Workers Solidarity conference held in Malaysia.

In the previous month, or on July 2, a Steering Committee of 20 emerged from the Workers Charter meeting also held in Auckland. They are (in alphabetical order): Rachel Asher, Paul Carrucan, Cathy Casey, Luke Coxon, Stuart Fancy, Cecil Fowler, Roger Fowler, Jennifer Francis, Chrissy Holland ,Robyn Hughes, Maria Humphries, Daphne Lawless, Matt McCarten, John Minto, Grant Morgan, Pat O'Dea, Sam Quayle, Melody Shinnock, Mike Treen, and Elaine West.

Asia-Pacific Solidarity Conference

In 2005, among the "most exciting developments" discussed at the Democratic Socialist Party organized Asia-Pacific International Solidarity Conference held in Sydney at Easter was the rapidly changing map of New Zealand politics, in particular, the development of the Maori Party, the Unite union and the Residents Action Movement.

Several left-wing leaders from New Zealand attended the conference, including Matt McCarten, who was until recently the campaign manager for the Maori Party, Global Peace and Justice Auckland leader Mike Treen, and David Colyer and Grant Morgan from New Zealand Socialist Worker, who all addressed a feature session on March 28.

Socialist Alliance conference

On June 11, 2005, the Democratic Socialist Party organized a Socialist Alliance Conference in Australia. There were two special international guests; Mike Treen, from the Unite union in New Zealand and Grant Morgan from the New Zealand Socialist Workers Organisation. The duo addressed the conference on the lessons from the similar attacks on unions across the Tasman.

Greetings were received from Craig Johnston, Chris Cain (bringing greetings from Western Australia's Miners Union Australia; the Construction, Forestry Mining and Engineering Union; and Electrical Trades Unions), the Communist Party of Sudan, the Kurdish Independent Labour Party and the Freedom Socialist Party of the USA.

Venezuela trip

In May 2006 Mike Treen traveled to Venezuela and Bolivia. According to Green Left Weekly;[43]

Australian trade unionists who were part of a solidarity brigade to Venezuela participated in Caracas's huge May 1 demonstration and had an opportunity to address the crowd from the front stage near Miraflores, the presidential palace.

Participants in the brigade, which kicked off on April 25, included four representatives from the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and one from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU). Mike Treen, senior organiser from New Zealand's Unite union, also participated. The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network sponsored the brigade.
The unionists marched as a contingent, complete with ETU and AMWU flags and a large banner expressing solidarity with the Venezuelan people.

ETU activist John Cleary gave greetings to the Venezuelan workers on behalf of the Australian delegation. He welcomed the revolutionary advances made by the Venezuelan people through the Bolivarian revolution.
He also recounted the Howard government's attacks on Australian workers, and called for mutual solidarity between Australian and Venezuelan trade unionists. Cleary called for victory to the Venezuelan revolution, to applause from the crowd.
That night, the Australian union delegation appeared on a live TV discussion program with officials from the UNT union federation. The program, Constructing the Republic, gave brigade participants the opportunity to answer questions on their opinions of the Venezuelan union movement and the challenges facing trade unionists in Australia and NZ.
The solidarity brigade gave Australian unionists the opportunity to meet a variety Venezuelan workers and activists, including the UNT's Jose Ramirez; Dr Marcelo Alfonso, director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine at the Central University of Venezuela and a long-time left-wing activist; and union activists who belong to the Communist Party of Venezuela.
At Ciudad Bolivar, the brigade met the teachers and students of a new program to train thousands of electrical workers for Venezuela's rapidly expanding industrial and domestic electricity projects. The visit was sponsored by the National Institute of Youth. The ETU members discussed possible future exchanges of information and assistance with organisers of the training program.
On April 27, the brigade visited the huge ALCASA aluminium plant in Ciudad Guyana. The plant was taken over by its workers and is currently under "cogestion" (workers' co-management with the state).
In Puerto La Cruz, participants met members of the Oro Negro (Black Gold) movement — a rank-and-file movement of oil workers seeking to take over control of the local oil industry union federation, which is currently dominated by the right-wing CTV federation. Brigade members took part in a media conference with Oro Negro leaders, who are contesting upcoming union elections and hopeful of success.

Back in Caracas, the brigade visited Barrio 23 de Enero to hear the inspiring story the poor urban community's struggle to take control of its affairs. The barrio (neighbourhood), whose members played a key role in the mass mobilisation that brought President Hugo Chavez back to power after a US-backed coup in April 2002, now manages its own security after corrupt metropolitan police were forced out of the area. Barrio 23 de Enero now has the lowest crime rate in Caracas!

Did Chavez fund "Unite"?

David Farrar of Kiwiblog quoted Unite Union leader, Matt McCarten;[44]

Our union, Unite, has sent three of our leading organisers to wealthier parts of the world to raise money from other trade unions for our upcoming campaign to win a union employment agreement for McDonald's workers
Our union, Unite, has sent three of our leading organisers to wealthier parts of the world to raise money from other trade unions for our upcoming campaign to win a union employment agreement for McDonald's workers

Besides Treen's trip to Latin America, Unite official Joe Carolan had recently traveled to the United Kingdom, while Chrissy Holland had attended a Labor Notes conference in the United States.

Supporting Bolivian revolution

In September 2007 a statement was circulated by the blog Bolivia Rising in support of the revolutionary government of Bolivia;[45]

The democratically elected government of Bolivia's first indigenous president Evo Morales Ayma, which is heading a process of democratic change, is Washington's immediate target in Latin America today. Bolivia is in Washington's sight, not only because it is viewed as the weakest link of the growing axis of hope in the region, but because of its role as a catalyst for inspiring the struggles of indigenous peoples, regionally and internationally, for real social justice...
Now is the time for all intellectuals, union militants, solidarity activists, political parties and progressive minded individuals who believe in real justice and equality to raise their voices in defense of the Bolivian government and its people. No to US interference in Bolivia!

Signatories included;

Unite union

In February 2008 Treen toured Britain speaking to meetings organized by No Sweat, including to the London meeting Solidarity 3/127. After that meeting Mike Treen spoke to Colin Foster.


"Your approach contrasts with most other union organising drives these days, in that you started with a clear declaration of across-the-board demands that the union was going to fight for, rather than trying to recruit individuals on the basis that if they had a individual problem, then the union could help."

"Yes - though when we first went to the some of the workplaces were weren’t always clear what the big issues were. We had to find that out. In our initial recruiting drive we were identifying the relevant demands, and through the organising drive we were seeking to get collective solutions to those issues. Our goal was always a collective agreement with the boss, not to sell union-sponsored insurance or whatever.

"We had limited resources. We borrowed substantially to get started. We had a small organising staff - three people, to start with - on the minimum wage, but we needed more people. Some of our recruiters were workplace delegates from already organized industries, e.g. hotel workers. One woman took redundancy to volunteer. Another was a part-time bar worker.

"We also approached left-wing people, socialists and anarchists. We said to them: 'you talk about organising workers, here’s your chance to do so'.

"So we had about a dozen fully-engaged organisers, paid or unpaid, to start with. Initially a lot depended on a previous network of the Alliance party [a left-wing party, originating in a big split from the New Zealand Labour Party, which fell apart shortly before Unite was launched].

"People usually came in as unpaid, but as they proved themselves to be in it for the long haul the union started to pay them. We now have nine staff, and we still use volunteers if we have a campaign on.

"Unite also has close links with the Postal Workers' Association. The PWA has no paid officials at all, but is near to organising a majority of postal delivery workers in New Zealand.

"It has a deal with Unite whereby Unite provides paid full-time organiser time when the PWA wants it."

How important was left involvement?

"Key Unite people had been involved in the Workers Charter, a broad left-oriented group. The Workers’ Charter initiative became a newspaper for Unite.

"Two of the key Unite people, myself and John Minto, were well-known in the broader anti-war and social justice movement in New Zealand. John is the spokesperson for the Quality Public Education Coalition. I’m an organiser in Latin American Solidarity, the Global Peace and Justice campaign, and other movements.

"We’ve seen this as an opportunity to unite the broader left, to work together and break down divisions."[46]

Labor for Palestine

On December 14, 2009 Labor for Palestine released an "Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel".

Signers of the letter included Mike Treen, National Director of Unite Union New Zealand.[47]

NZ Committee to Free the Cuban Five

Circa 2009, the list of Initiating Members and Supporters of the New Zealand Committee to Free the Cuban Five, included Mike Treen, National Director of Unite Union New Zealand.[48]

US Embassy letter/Cuban 5

On 6 April 2009 US Embassy in Wellington refused to accept a hand delivered letter from MPs, City Councillors, trade unionists, church leaders,academics and other New Zealanders calling on the US Government not to oppose the petition to the US Supreme Court for the release of the Cuban 5.

An attempt to deliver the letter was made by Wellington City Councillor, Ray Ahipene-Mercer and Secretary of the Weliington Cuba Friendship Society Gillian Magee but US Embassy Guards said they would not accept a hand delivered letter.[49]

Dear Attorney General Holder
We, the undersigned New Zealanders are writing this letter to you on the eve of the US Government submitting a brief in response to the 30 January 09 petition to the Supreme Court and the twelve separate amicus curiae briefs that were filed in the US Supreme Court on 6 March 2009 regarding the unjust incarceration of five Cuban citizens - Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, René González Sehweret, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort - known as the Cuban 5.
We urge the United States Government to acknowledge that a complete miscarriage of justice has taken place regarding the Cuban 5 and to support, rather than oppose, a review of the conviction by the Supreme Court. We urge you to immediately release the Cuban 5.

Signatories included Mike Treen.

Cuban award


Auckland, 18 December 2013. In the framework of the event organized by the Friendship with Cuba Association in this city on the eve of the new Anniversary of the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution, this fair recognition was given to a group of prominent New Zealand activists for their constant work on behalf of the cause of the release of the Five Cuban Heroes.

In the emotional occasion, 8 of these activists, fervent defenders of Cuba and fighters for the freedom of the Five, received from the hands of the Ambassador Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro the reproduction of the allegorical painting to the Five completed by Cuban painters and a thank you letter on behalf of the Heroes and their families.

This time’s honorees were Janet Roth, Annalucia Vermunt, Mike Treen, Malcolm McAllister, Ina Lawrence, Evaristo Navarrete, Gael Donald and Phillip Speary.[50],[51]

Going to Gaza


Veteran human rights campaigner and union leader, Mike Treen , is about to join the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla determined to challenge Israel’s 11-year inhumane naval blockade of Gaza later this month.

Treen says it is “a great honour to be asked to participate and a chance to deepen solidarity between workers in New Zealand and Palestine.

“We need an international campaign to isolate apartheid Israel in the same way we did against Apartheid South Africa,” said Mr Treen. “I see my participation in this trip as logical continuation and extension to my participation in the Biko Squad against the Springbok Tour of New Zealand.”

Supported by New Zealand/Palestine solidarity group, Kia Ora Gaza, and hundreds of Kiwi donors, Treen will be New Zealand’s representative on this humanitarian solidarity mission, following in the wake of Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson who joined the Women’s Boat to Gaza two years ago. Treen flies to Sicily this weekend to board the leading flotilla boat, a former Norwegian fishing trawler.

Kia Ora Gaza has written to the Minister of foreign affairs, Hon Winston Peters asking him to demand that Israel allows the flotilla “safe and unhindered passage” to Gaza.[52]

Baroud connection


Mike Treen with Roger Fowler and Ramzy Baroud, Auckland Nabka march 2018.

Arrested in Israel

A New Zealand union leader was reportedly tasered repeatedly by Israeli military during a violent attack aboard a international campaigning ship.

Unite Union leader Mike Treen has been contacted for the first time since the attack took place near Gaza on Monday.

He said he was in the wheelhouse of the Al Awda when the attack took place and he was subsequently handcuffed and detained.

Treen told the Union he received injuries to his face and head and was bleeding but is now recovering.

He also reported that one of his fellow flotilla members was tasered in the head, a 69-year-old female surgeon received a head injury, and a senior Canadian passenger received a foot injury and had to be treated in hospital.

Local civil rights lawyers met with all those detained a few hours ago.

Treen said all their belongings, including their passports, have been seized and not returned, despite promises they would if they co-operated.

The Unite Union is subsequently asking for the NZ Government to condemn Israel over what it calls a violent attack and unlawful detention of its national director.

"Despite Kia Ora Gaza contacting the NZ Hon Consul in Tel Aviv requesting assistance we are unaware of any contact, visit or action from the NZ Government or its representatives to assist," Unite national secretary Gerard Hehir said.

The incident took place on Monday morning, while the crew of international campaigners were taking part in a mission to deliver aid to the Palestinian territory of Gaza. The boat was said to have been loaded with medicines.[53]

Auckland Cuba comrades


Robert Reid, Mike Treen, Annalucia Vermunt and Gillian Magee.


Mike Treen, Annalucia Vermunt and Gillian Magee

Cuban embassy


Mike Treen, Robert Reid, April 2019.

Love Aotearoa Hate Racism

March 25 2019 nearly 4,000 people gathered in central Auckland yesterday in a brilliant display of solidarity with the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks, and in opposition to racism, Islamophobia and fascism.

The march, organised by Love Aotearoa Hate Racism, began in Aotea Square, with the names of the victims of March 15’s mosque shootings read out by Bosnian refugee and trade union activist Hana Obradovic. This was followed by a two-minute silence before the march moved off up Queen Street. The mood was defiant and energetic, with chants of “when migrant lives are under attack, stand up fight back!” and “the people, united, will never be defeated!” Up the front were a mix of flags and banners representing tangata whenua, the Migrant Workers Association, Dayenu: NZ Jews Against the Occupation, several unions including Unite, FIRST, E tu, and NZNO, and two political organisations, Socialist Aotearoa and Organise Aotearoa.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson called the shooting “a watershed moment” which had sparked much-needed conversation about racism in this country. “We have to stand against racism, but we can’t go back to the Aotearoa which allows this racism to stand,” she said.

Love Aotearoa Hate Racism co-founder Joe Carolan said that, although the shootings were the deed of one gunman, the attack is the “tragic consequence” of New Zealand’s failure to address racism.

“This has given confidence to fascist elements here and overseas, culminating in last week’s tragic and harrowing outcome.

Anu Kaloti of the Migrant Workers Association delivered a moving poem she had written ‘I Can’t Sleep’, calling on New Zealanders to not rest until racism is defeated. Other speakers included Māori activist Joe Trinder, Rachel Macintosh of the Council of Trade Unions, investigative journalist Nicky Hager, Mike Treen from Global Peace and Justice Auckland, Jasmine Ali from Melbourne Stand Together Against Racism, Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition Sydney, and Elliot Crossan from Socialist Aotearoa. Representatives from the Federation of Islamic Associations NZ and Masjid e Umar spoke on behalf of the Muslim community, and there was a powerful speech from the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network.[54]



  1. UNITE website: Interview with Mike Treen from his 2008 British tour, April 23, 2008 (accessed on July 13, 2010)
  2. Socialist Action 2 Oct 8
  3. Socialist Action, October 2 1981.
  4. Christchurch Star March 1 1980
  5. Socialist Action June 29 1973 page 8
  6. Socialist Action 29 June 1973 page8
  7. Socialist Action March 16 1973]
  8. Socialist Action May 7 1982
  9. Socialist Action March 30 1973
  10. letter to the Socialist Action League's publication Socialist Action June 1 1973
  11. The New Zealand Truth, January 20 1976
  12. Socialist Action August 6 1976 page 4
  13. Socialist Action June 29 1973 page 8
  14. Socialist Action June 29 1973 page 8
  15. Socialist Action February 14 1975 page 8
  16. [Waikato Times March 5 1975]
  17. Socialist Action August 1 1975 page 7
  18. Socialist Action April 8 1977
  19. Socialist Action February 23 1978
  20. Socialist Action June 16 1978 page 10
  21. Socialist Action October 2 1981
  22. Socialist Action, March 9 1979
  23. Socialist Action November 4 1977 page 3
  24. Socialist Action February 10 1978 page 7
  25. Socialist Action October 2 1981
  26. Socialist Action October 2 1981
  27. Socialist Action April 7 1978 page 7
  28. Socialist Action December 15 1978 page 5
  29. Socialist Action February 29 1980
  30. Socialist Action October 2 1981
  31. Socialist Action May 18 1979 page 7
  32. Socialist Action,April 11 1980
  33. Socialist Action October 2 1981
  34. Socialist Action May 15 1981
  35. Socialist Action June 12 1981
  36. Socialist Action October 23 1981 page 12
  37. Socialist Action October 30 1981
  38. Unity October 1
  39. Salient September 21
  40. Socialist Action November 19 1982
  41. Green Left Weekly May
  42. Left Weekly, May 26, 2004.
  43. VENEZUELA: Australian unionists address May Day rally, Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas, GLW, May 10, 2006
  44. Sinister Overseas Influence in NZ reporting comment by Matt McCarten in the Herald on Sunday, April 30, 2006
  45. Bolivia Rising on Tuesday, September 18, 2007
  46. http://www.unite.org.nz/node/348
  47. http://www.iacenter.org/palestine/palestine_labor122209/
  48. Initiating Members and Supporters of the NZ Committee to Free the Cuban Five
  49. SCOOP, US Embassy Refuses Letter From MPs. Crs. Unionists Tuesday, 7 April 2009, 9:36 am Press Release: NZ Committee to Free the Cuban Five
  51. http://www.minrex.gob.cu/en/cuban-ambassador-gives-recognition-prominent-new-zealand-activists-battle-liberation-five-cuban Accessed July 31 2018
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