RIVER OF FREEDOM documents the heart of the Parliament protest in 2022—the largest protest in New Zealand’s recent history.
“When the New Zealand government enforce mandatory vaccination on the workforce, many rebel. They convoy to Parliament in protest but are ignored by politicians, ridiculed by media and smashed by police after a 23-day occupation.”
RIVER OF FREEDOM is a feature documentary sharing the inside story of the New Zealand Convoy and Parliament protest in February and March 2022—who the people were, why they were there, and what happened!
Fed up with Covid-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates, thousands of people convoy to Wellington from all around the country, demanding change and expecting democratic representation.
On the road to Parliament are people from all walks of life—teachers and students, caregivers and medical professionals, first responders, tradies, musicians and artists, commercial pilots, farmers, business owners, and government employees. All are suffering loss: employment, education, connections, reputation, wellbeing. Lost opportunities.
The convoy sparks hope across the nation. New Zealanders gather on the lawn of Parliament to express their grievances. They chant “freedom!” But, without a government-issued ‘vaccine passport’ many are refused access to hotels, cafes and amenities. They are welcomed by tangata whenua, and set up camp on the front lawn of Parliament—together they create a ‘Freedom Village’.
An assault by police fails to remove the protestors; rather it shocks the nation and attracts thousands more. Tactics approved by the Speaker of the House during a cyclone fails to suppress the peoples’ determination—“End the mandates!”
A High Court win is cause for celebration, however, under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership, the protestors are ignored; all 120 parliamentarians collectively agree not to communicate with them.
After 23 days, the New Zealand Police ambush the protestors in a dawn raid, forcibly clearing everyone using methods never seen before in Aotearoa.
Nevertheless, the peace, love & kotahitanga (unity) shared by the protestors, as well as their supporters, will be forever remembered, as will the injustices of this time.