If you think making “a good cup of tea and a pretty good scone” doesn’ t fit with seriously campaigning and roughing it for world peace — think again!
Kit Nelson and Maynie Thompson are two 90 year old peace activists who live on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. Not only did they make a stand for what they believed in, they walked the distance of true commitment to creating a safer world. This is their story.
Kit & Maynie became friends as members of the Waiheke Island Peace Group.
Selling tea and scones at the Saturday market to raise funds for peace activities, the two started campaigning for nuclear disarmament in 1984. With the Waiheke “Mum’s Army”, Maynie embarked on a 2 month Walk for or Life on Earth to parliament steps to urge the Government to go nuclear free. (Under the Labour government, New Zealand was declared Nuclear Free in 1987.)
Later in 1984, these feisty 65 year olds travelled to Greenham Common, Britain – where a US Air Force Base was housing Cruise missiles. Along with thousands of women at Greenham Common Peace Camp they risked arrest daily and lived in basic tents, cooking over campfires.
After returning home from protesting in Geneva and Germany, Maynie headed for the Great Peace March for Nuclear Disarmament in the United States with friend Anne Macfarlane. The nine month journey from Los Angeles to New York then to Washington, DC ended with Maynie’s “proudest moment” when she spoke at the November 1986 rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
In 1996, the French government resumed nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll in the South Pacific. Kit and Maynie, now 77, were back in action – joining the NZ originated Women’s Peace Flight to Tahiti.