Lewis Stanton, otherwise known as Hone Ma Heke has been released on bail and is back on the street, standing by the punch he threw at a protestor on November 20.
Lewis was was charged with two counts of assault following a peaceful protest that turned violent on Nelson’s main street.
Offered bail on the condition he kept out of the central business district, Lewis rejected and appealed to the High Court who said the CBD restriction could not be justified under the Bill of Rights Act.
Lewis was then released from jail and is back on Trafalgar St, taking up his usual spot in front of Farmers.
“Basically, today is my first day back on the job, most people get three weeks annual leave and I feel like I’ve been cheated because I only got one,” Lewis jokes.
“But I’m still here and I’m going to continue my protest and get the truth out, I’ve had a lot of people welcome me back and there’s a lot more verbal support out there now.”
Lewis says he stands by his punch, “unfortunately that may have been what needed to happen, if anyone is going to step on my toes I’m certainly going to jump back on theirs.
“They were trying to intimidate me and they were successful but they shouldn’t have targeted me, they should have been targeting the council because none of this would be going on almost six years later if the council had not done what they did in the first place.”
And as for the trio throwing water balloons down on protestors and civilians, Lewis says he’s not sure who they were.
“I don’t know for sure whether they were on my side or wether it was just someone just having fun.”
Lewis is due to appear in the Nelson District Court on December 6.