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John Minto

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Minto at a 2012 Auckland Action Against Poverty beneficiary impact

John Minto (born c. 1953) is a New Zealand political activist known for his involvement in various left-wing groups and causes, most notably Halt All Racist Tours. A 2005 documentary on New Zealand's Top 100 History Makers listed him as number 89. As of 2011, he is involved with the protest[1] group Global Peace and Justice Auckland and the Unite Union. He also wrote a weekly column for The Press[2] and was formerly editor of the (now defunct) Workers' Charter newspaper.

Minto is a long-time member of the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) and also a national vice chairperson[3] of QPEC, Quality Public Education Coalition (Inc) and co-vice-president of the Mana Movement. Minto was also a teacher at Hornby High School and retired from teaching in 2018.[4]

Activist career[edit]

Halt All Racist Tours[edit]

Trevor Richards, Tom Newnham and others formed Halt All Racist Tours to protest against rugby union tours to and from Apartheid South Africa, in 1969. Minto became the National Chairman of the organisation in 1980. In 1981, Minto was actively involved in protests against the South Africa national rugby union team's tour of New Zealand.[5][6] He was assaulted by rugby supporters the evening after a disruptive protest at Rugby Park in Hamilton. This prompted him to add a protective helmet to his distinctive outfit of overalls.[7][8] He remained at the forefront of the protests.

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) listed Minto in 1981 on a list of 'subversives' for the events of that year.[9] In 2005 a police baton owned by Ross Meurant, a former member of Parliament who was second in charge of the "Red Squad" during the 1981 Springbok Tour was put up for auction online labelled as a "Minto Bar",[10] a "joke" based on the co-incidence of names between John Minto and Minties, the brand name of a popular mint-flavoured sweet. In 2009 John Minto's helmet appeared in an episode of Tales from Te Papa a television series of mini-documentaries about objects from the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.[11]

In 2021, Minto organised a series of events around New Zealand, including in New Plymouth, Dunedin, and Invercargill, to mark the 40th anniversary of the protests against the 1981 Springbok Tour.[12][6][13]

Companion of OR Tambo Award[edit]

During January 2008 Minto publicly "rejected" a nomination for the South African Companion of OR Tambo Award, saying he was dismayed over current conditions in the country.[14] However, the Presidency of South Africa later stated that Minto had not been nominated for any national award.[15]

Palestinian solidarity activism[edit]

In January 2009 Minto led a protest to the Auckland Tennis Stadium, where they demanded that Israeli player Shahar Pe'er, who served a compulsory two-years service in the Israel Defense Forces,[16] withdraw from the tournament and denounce the Israeli Government and its actions in the 2008–2009 Israel-Gaza conflict, adding that she should respect international calls for a boycott against Israel. Pe'er ignored the group's demands and participated in the tournament as planned, stating at a press conference that "I think [the politics] is nothing to do with what I am doing".[17]

Maurice Williamson, a member of parliament, rebuffed the protesters at the event, stating that Pe'er was not representing Israel and was playing as a private individual, and that thus the protesters should "leave her alone".[18]

A similar protest[19] occurred at the January 2010 event, where Shahar Pe'er again competed. On the third day of protest (7 January 2010) John Minto was one of five protesters arrested[20] outside the ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland on a charge of disorderly behaviour.[21][22] He later received of a 500-metre trespass-order.[23] Minto subsequently successfully appealed his conviction on the charge of disorderly behaviour.[24]

By 2021, Minto had become the Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA), which staged protests in response to the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis and has called for the closure of the Israeli Embassy in Wellington.[25] Minto has also expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, alleging that Israel is an "Apartheid state.[26]

As Chair of the PSNA, Minto opposed the New Zealand Government's decision to join the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as an observer on 24 June 2022. He claimed that IHRA was a partisan organisation seeking to deflect criticism of Israeli policies and actions towards the Palestinians with what he regarded as "false smears" of antisemitism.[27]

Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on 7 October 2023, Minto criticised the Auckland War Memorial Museum's decision to light up its premises in the colours of the Israeli flag in solidarity with Israel and victims of the 2023 Hamas-led attack on Israel. He condemned Hamas's attack and the kidnapping of civilians but said that Palestinians in New Zealand were enraged by the Government's refusal to condemn Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.[28] In early May 2024, Minto took part in a flash mob protest outside Foreign Minister Winston Peters' residence demanding that New Zealand reinstate funding for UNRWA and severe diplomatic relations with Israel.[29]

Political career[edit]

Mayoralty bids[edit]

In April 2013, Minto announced his intention to run for the mayoralty of Auckland on the Mana Movement ticket.[30] Minto had several candidates that are running for Councillor on the Minto for Mayor ticket.[31]

In July 2016, Minto announced he would run in the 2016 Christchurch mayoral election as a candidate for The Keep Our Assets group.[32]

Internet Mana[edit]

Minto stood in the 2014 elections as a candidate for the Internet Mana party, and was ranked fourth on the party list.[33]

Views and positions[edit]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand, John Minto expressed support for receiving COVID-19 vaccines but disagreed with the Government's vaccine mandate. Minto argued that vaccine mandates were an overreach of state power since they gave the Government the right to dismiss education and medical personnel for refusing to get vaccinated.[34][35]

Personal life[edit]

Since 2014, Minto has lived in the Christchurch suburb of Waltham.[36] The sculptor Llew Summers was his brother-in-law.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Full interview with activist John Minto on anti-Israel protest – Video". 3 News. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  2. ^ JohnMinto.org.nz Archive of Minto's Press articles, in weblog format
  3. ^ "Quality Public Education". Qpec.org.nz. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  4. ^ Pasley, James (13 July 2016). "Minto to stand for Christchurch mayoralty". Otago Daily Times. Allied Press. Archived from the original on 30 October 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  5. ^ Minto, John (15 August 2021). "Rugby, racism and the battle for the soul of Aotearoa New Zealand". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 October 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  6. ^ a b Hudson, Daisy (12 August 2021). "'81 Boks protest 'a great day for Dunedin': Minto". Otago Daily Times. Allied Press. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Helmet". Collections Online. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Image of John Minto in his protesting outfit". Collections Online. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Release of NZSIS Reports on 1981 Springbok Rugby Tour Protests". New Zealand Security Intelligence Service. 21 December 2011. Archived from the original on 7 February 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  10. ^ Gregory, Angela (6 May 2005). "Meurant's Red Squad baton up for sale". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Rugby Ball & John Minto". Tales From Te Papa Episode 4. Television New Zealand. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  12. ^ Watson, Mike (31 July 2021). "Remembering the day the 1981 Springbok tour came to Taranaki". Taranaki Daily News. Stuff. Archived from the original on 13 August 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  13. ^ Harding, Evan (7 August 2021). "'Wound up bunch of people in Invercargill': Hart leader recalls '81 Springbok tour". Stuff. Archived from the original on 13 August 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Mail & Guardian – Anti-apartheid campaigner rejects SA award". The M&G Online. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Clarification of misconceptions on nomination for National Order". www.thepresidency.gov.za. 29 January 2008. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Off-court". Shahar Pe'er official website. Archived from the original on 19 May 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Gaza conflict touches ASB Classic". TVNZ. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  18. ^ "Anti-Israel activists protest at tennis". 1 News. TVNZ. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  19. ^ Minto, John (7 January 2010). "Where are the Palestinian tennis players?". Stuff. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  20. ^ "Tennis: Five arrests at ASB". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  21. ^ Rowe, Jessica (10 January 2010). "Activist John Minto on anti-Israel protest". 3 News. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  22. ^ Long, David (7 January 2010). "John Minto arrested at tennis protest". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  23. ^ "Tennis: More anti-Israel protestors arrested". NZ Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  24. ^ Field, Michael (11 November 2011). "John Minto's anti-Israeli tennis protest 'not disorderly'". Stuff. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  25. ^ Ansell, Emily (22 May 2021). "'Sever ties with Israel', say protesters". Metro News. New Zealand Broadcasting School. Archived from the original on 30 October 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  26. ^ "Opinion: Boycott Israel, the apartheid state under new management". Radio New Zealand. 31 July 2021. Archived from the original on 3 August 2021. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  27. ^ Minto, John (26 June 2022). "NZ joining IHRA a weak, cowardly decision over Israel". Asia Pacific Report. Auckland University of Technology. Archived from the original on 27 June 2022. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  28. ^ "Auckland Museum sorry for 'distress and hurt' after lighting up for Israel". 1 News. TVNZ. 16 October 2023. Archived from the original on 16 October 2023. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  29. ^ Fisher, David (4 May 2024). "Winston Peter's targeted flashmob-style after dark as tactics shift in Palestine protest movement". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 7 May 2024. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  30. ^ "John Minto for Auckland mayor?". 3 News NZ. 16 April 2013. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  31. ^ "Minto for Mayor". 2 October 2016. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  32. ^ "Keep Our Assets run John Minto as Christchurch mayoral candidate". 12 July 2016.
  33. ^ "Internet-Mana releases party list". Radio New Zealand. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  34. ^ Minto, John (27 October 2021). "This is wrong". The Daily Blog. Archived from the original on 9 November 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  35. ^ Minto, John (10 November 2021). "Genuine, valid concerns at government policies masked by stereotypical reporting". The Daily Blog. Archived from the original on 9 November 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  36. ^ "Minto for Mayor - About Us". mintoformayor.org.nz. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  37. ^ "Deaths". The Press. 3 August 2019.