“Free the South” aired on Radio Avon in 1979
To start I want to sincerely thank you for checking out the South Island Independence Movement!
It is a movement that has existed in multiple forms for over 170 years to protest the lack of representation of the South, it’s people and our unique issues and challenges in the Halls of Power in New Zealand.
However as the state of affairs in NZ has become worse, I believe it has come time for this movement to move from mere protest and into something much more substantial.
My name is Solomon Tor-Kilsen, I am 28 years old, married with four children.
I own & run my own business in Timaru, South Canterbury.
I started the S.I.I.M. in late 2013 as I felt that the social/political situation around the world and in New Zealand was on a downward trend and no one seemed to have a plan or strategy to counteract the way things were going.
Or worse, there was no contingency plan for if things genuinely ‘went bad’.
Start of a Movement
Seeing that ‘something’ had to be done, I set up the Facebook Page and Group simply to start a discussion and have a place were others around the Island and wider New Zealand could come, discuss and network.
For the first few years the page and group really didn’t gain that much attention, only attracting a few dozen likes and members and I used it as predominantly as a platform to share news and articles I felt were relevant to current events and the future of our Island and Nation.
Then Trump, Le Pen and Brexit happened
People around the world suddenly became inspired to the fact, that they, the people, could stand up and make a difference.
Likes and membership jumped from dozens to hundreds as people in New Zealand started looking for alternatives to the current system, looking for their own “Trump/Le Pen”.
Engagement went through the roof, in depth discussions took place and I did two road-trips around the South Island doing meetings with the supporter base we had budding, but also venturing to the North Island looking for potential allies and promoting the benefit and opportunities of the South becoming a Free Nation separate from the continuous National vs Labour and their constant meaningless back and forth.
Both trips were certainly engaging and the most excited conversations took place, however we were still a tiny group of people with limited reach and connections.
National TV and Radio
Just as we broke the first 1000 likes on Facebook in mid 2018, TVNZ picked us up on their radar.
A story representing the “Emergence of a Renewed Southern Independence Movement” was shown on TV One’s Seven Sharp and a Radio interview followed.
Since then, our presence has exploded from 1000 likes on facebook and about 150-200 members in our group to over 11500 likes on our page and over 1100 members in our group in less than one year and that growth doesn’t look to be slowing down.
With such fantastic growth, growing reach and now with connections to more and more amazing South Island individuals and groups, now is the time to start work on developing a solid plan moving forward.
The three areas that I believe we need to focus on are:
This is the heart of the SIIM. The connection of like minded South Islanders and our sympathetic North Island counterparts. For the South to move towards independence or even just holding it’s own from an advocacy point of view, we need to grow and develop a greater sense of Southern Unity. This is something that is starting to flourish online, however it is best brought about through real world interactions.
Simply meeting up with another SIIM supporter for coffee, attending a local SIIM BBQ or going along to a local meeting does amazing things for morale and local connection.
Eventually I would love to see SIIM Members and supporters engaging in local actives, hosting local ‘Southern’ events/festivals, etc, anything that promotes Southern Culture and Pride. Unity of the South is and will be the true Key to our success as a Movement.
At the beginning of this month, on the 2nd of May, we established and incorporated the ‘South Island Party’. This is the Political Wing of the South Island Independence Movement, however it is and MUST be a separate organisation with separate goals to the rest of the SIIM, not so much pushing for South Island independence, but rather:
1: Greater Representation of the Southern Vote in Parliament
2: Advocating Greater Southern Autonomy.
3: And in time, pushing for the establishment of a Devolved Southern Parliament (not unlike those in the States of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States).
How will the policies of the S.I.P. be set?
The best way I can see to do this is simply by asking the People of the South ‘what they want’. I have attempted to start this process via the polls that I post on the SIIM page.
From there, it will be a case of taking the results from those polls and developing policy from them with the approval of the members of the Party.
(For those of you who are or want to become Members of the Party, it is important that you attend any General Meeting and AGM (26th-27th of October 2019) that we hold in order to make this process as democratic as possible).
In order to grow a stronger South Island and better secure our chances of actually achieving independence, we need to build and fortify our own internal Southern Economy. From as simple as “Shop Southern” to supporting, investing in or starting more Southern based businesses all the way to pooling together to start buying up Southern Land & Businesses that come up on the market to keep them in Southern hands, which again helps grow and secure what we want to achieve.
If we can tie these three aspects together, we will be on the right track to win our freedom, and at the very worse, even if the South never becomes Independent, at least we can make sure the South is the best place in NZ to be in, work in and thrive in.
This is going to be a long road and one we need to pace ourselves for. As things get worse in the world, I certainly appreciate the dire urgency that many of our members feel. However, it is better to sure and steady to make sure we get this right. We only get one shot at bat.
From here, we need to establish local communities and committees in each of the Electorates for the upcoming 2020 Election, even if not to stand a candidate (which would be ideal), to help organize and facilitate local meetings, actives and promotions.
We also need more volunteers to come on board to help with organizational roles, admin/mod roles, information sourcing, article writing, fundraising, ect, and of course, leadership roles.
If you feel you are up to any of these positions, please get in touch and we’ll arrange to have a chat.
I again want to thank you all for your involvement and your support.
This a massive undertaking and one I certainly can’t do by myself and your continued support is greatly appreciated.
If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch (I will do my best to respond as soon as possible, however there may be delays due to my work schedule)!
Many thanks again and my kindest regards,
SIIM Founder and South Island Party Leader