7 January 2018


Sunday, 7 January 2018

 

MEDIA NOTES: CANTERBURY RODEO PROTEST & AFTERMATH

Canterbury Rodeo hosted their annual event at Mandeville Sports Club on Saturday, 6 January 2018.

 

After discussions with, and taking advice from, the Waimakariri District Council and the Mandeville Sports Club, Canterbury Rodeo advertised that "no dogs, no glass, no B.Y.O alcohol and also no large cameras or filming equipment” would be allowed to enter the event.

 

Even prior to the event, self-proclaimed animal activist Matt Walker was publicly and unfavourably comparing Canterbury Rodeo to "North Korea”, and urging the public to refuse to "ever” engage with the rodeo’s sponsors.

 

Mr Walker attended the event on the Saturday morning and allegedly acted in an aggressive and intimidatory manner towards security personnel at the front entrance. He was refused access and left.

 

He returned later with camera equipment and adopted a much more restrained and reasonable tone with staff and officials, possibly because he was recording his interactions for his personal publicity purposes. Again, he was refused access for breaching the above mentioned restrictions and handed a trespass notice to that effect.

 

Mr Walker later complained on social media and to some news media outlets as to his treatment and published a copy of the trespass notice which contained the personal residential address and telephone number of the secretary of the Canterbury Rodeo Club.

 

Mr Walker also repeatedly telephoned the club secretary and threatened her with ongoing harassment unless and until she personally talked with him.

 

The secretary recorded these messages and today has laid a formal complaint with the Police, alleging both threatening harassment by Mr Walker and the ongoing and illegal breach of her privacy, namely the publication of her residential address.

 

Mr Walker has previously contacted and aggressively harassed other individuals associated with the sport of rodeo. His antics discredit the organisations and causes with which he is associated and he now faces the legal consequences of such actions.

 

NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association respect the right of persons to protest.

 

But we abhor the misrepresentation of our sport, the harassment of sponsors, participants and officials, and the biased editing and publication of video that wilfully misrepresent rodeo events, incidents and practices at New Zealand rodeos.

 

All New Zealand rodeos are overseen by on-site veterinarians, MPI officials and a strict Rodeo Code (updated in 2014) that collectively operate to ensure the animals involved are not mistreated.

 

We are appreciative of the vocal support given this past week by defence and veterans minister Hon. Ron Mark MP at the Wanaka Rodeo, and the ongoing support of other elected representatives.

 

Rodeos themselves were formally approved by Parliament in 2016 – with the above animal welfare safeguards in place - after an independent inquiry.

 

 

 

 

Michael Laws

National Spokesperson

NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association

michael@themessage.nz

027 453 5575