I had cause to visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum again on 2 July. On leaving in the afternoon, I cut across one of the grassed areas to the east of the museum, at the top of Maunsell Street ...
... and spotted this plaque, set beneath an olive tree.
PLANTED IN THE MEMORY OF
WHO HAVE SUFFERED AND DIED
IN THEIR STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM
PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
AUGUST 23rd 1988 AUCKLAND DOMAIN
I sent an email via the Palestine Human Rights Campaign website. In response, Janfrie Wakim contacted me with information (thank you, Janfrie).
The present day organisation originated from a small group in 1974 called the Friends of the Arab People who got together in Auckland. Renamed Friends of Palestine, it was formalised in the early 1980s as the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. They have staged protests and pickets over the years, invited guest speakers from overseas, and held fundraising dinners for the cause of Palestinian human rights. A text book for schools has been produced to provide information on the Palestine/Israel situation.
In 1988 the olive tree was planted in the Domain, instigated by Janfrie Wakim's late husband David Wakim. The original plaque was stainless steel; in 2005, this was replaced by the present one in bronze. (David Wakim died suddenly in 2005.)
Considering the New Zealand legal system nearly carried out the arrest of former Israeli Defence Force chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon for war crimes against Palestinians in 2006 (a warrant was quashed by the Attorney General before it could be used to detain Ya'alon) -- it's a wonder this memorial hasn't had more notice. I couldn't find any trace in the Auckland Library indexes, for example. It's in a lovely spot, and passed by people and vehicles every day. I'm glad I spotted it.