Public Speakers’ Corner for Kāpiti

The Kāpiti Coast will again have its own version of Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park in London.

Speakers’ Corner sited between the KCDC Civic Building and the Paraparaumu Library had fallen into disuse for a variety of reasons.

Once again, it will be open to all comers at all times with just two ‘bookable’ half hours each week.

The project is being driven by a working group called ‘Friends of Free Speech,’ convened by well-known local journalist and businessman Ron Wilkinson.

It’s been keenly supported from the outset by Cr K Gurunathan Guru who first proposed the idea in a successful submission to the KCDC 10 years ago.

The Friends of Free Speech say the Corner will be open to all, with as few rules as possible.

It will be conducted, they say, in the spirit of Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, although because of space limitations there will only be room for one speaker at a time.

Convenor Ron Wilkinson says the Speakers’ Corner will be officially re-launched on March 4, shortly after the official opening of the new KCDC building next door.

For the re-launch, three speakers will present their views. They are being finalised now, but the intention is to reflect a range of topics.

The introduction to a code for speakers says: ‘Speakers’ Corner is your platform. You can use it express any idea, opinion or viewpoint as long as it is lawful.”

Our council, which is the landowner, says amplifiers and loudspeakers should not be used.

The area is intended for citizens, but not for anyone wanting to use it for commercial gain.’

The Friends also ask speakers to observe a simple code of conduct:

  • Respect other people’s opinions

  • Avoid offensive language

  • Be courteous to other speakers and listeners

  • Limit your time to a maximum of 15 minutes