An organisation promoting an ideology it calls “Nelsonianism” is advocating for the top of the South Island to secede from New Zealand.
However, it is raising eyebrows for its darker theories about the region’s future.
“United Nelsonia” says its mission is to “transform Nelsonia into a strong, cohesive and independent sovereign state”. It describes this region as the whole top of the South Island, incorporating much of the West Coast and Kaikoura.
Its website and Facebook page says the three pillars of Nelsonianism are “political sovereignty, economic independence, and social justice”.
It is not clear who runs the sites as requests by the Weekly for comment went unanswered.
The Facebook site spends its time sharing articles about how the region should create economic sustainability, by constructing a new deep water port at Wakapuaka or starting a “school of artisan food”.
However, it does not take much work to figure out the organisation’s darker message.
“Nelsonia must promote a monocultural society by removing questions about ethnicity and race from official documents and censuses,” it says.
It also says it must not accept same sex marriage or other LGBT rights, should have a navy and compulsory military service and introduce corporal and capital punishment.
“It’s a bit scary isn’t it,” says Nelson Multicultural Council coordinator Jenni Bancroft. “It’s a bit sad – you’ve always got these people in your community.
“There is always an element out there. It’s not realistic to expect everyone to be nice and welcoming and globally thinking.”
Jenni says that she has spoken to various religious and cultural groups who are wary of making their contact details public because they have had some “dreadful experiences”.
“It saddens me, even in Nelson.”
Jenni has been in the role for about five months and has been working on various projects to promote positive race relations. The council was undergoing a revamp of “Speak Out Nelson” which was launched in 2010 as a safe way to report racist incidents in the region.
“It’s important in providing a safe and easy way for people to report their problems,” Jenni says. “[Victims] are not always comfortable having to put a face into the arena. It can add to the fear factor.”
As for websites like “United Nelsonia”:
“I don’t think it’s worth giving them any oxygen at all”.