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Simon Oosterman is a New Zealand political activist, trade unionist, and anarchist.[1] He is best known for coordinating the Unite Union campaign which targeted the fast food industry and led to (among other results) the world's first Starbucks strike, and for his involvement in the World Naked Bike Ride on which he was arrested for indecent exposure.

He currently works as a media liaison in Auckland for the National Distribution Union and the supermarket pay campaign.

Early yearsEdit

Oosterman grew up in Ramarama and on a farm at Rerewhakaaitu, south of Rotorua and in Papakura.[1] Simon and his siblings, twin brother Paul, older brother Jon and sister Katy, were put through private schools by their mother Allison, a journalist and now lecturer of communications at AUT University in Auckland. She told Metro magazine that she wanted the best education for them and "remarkably" was able to send them to Kings Prep School (Jon), Southwell School (Paul & Simon) and King's College (Jon, Paul & Simon) and St Cuthbert's College (Katy) despite being on her own after she and her husband separated when the twins were nine months old.[1]

Oosterman studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Women's studies but pulled out of a Masters in Environmental sociology to join an anti-war protest (below).[1]


He has been a prominent animal rights and anti-genetic engineering activist, and has been involved in climate change issues. Simon Oosterman is credited with organising the successful '' campaign for the world's first Starbucks strike, as well as coining the name and designing its website.[1][2]

Oosterman's first public protest was in 2003 with a week-long sit-in in downtown Auckland outside the US embassy. He, his brother Jon, and other activists were protesting the US actions in Iraq. That same year he was involved in an anti-vivisection protest in Christchurch where he lay in front of a bus carrying scientists. He was arrested but received diversion because this was a first offence.

In February 2005 Oosterman received worldwide attention when he was arrested at the start of the Auckland World Naked Bike Ride for refusing to put on underwear. He was covered in thick blue bodypaint at the time. In court he pleaded not guilty to the charge of indecent exposure. To protest this charge, he stripped off in front of the courthouse with three other activists wrapped in a banner reading “STOP indecent exposure to vehicle emissions”. He then ran into the court naked, but put his clothes back on for the plea hearing.[3] The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence.

On 22 March 2005 he and other protestors publicly complained about police brutality while passively resisting arrest for obstructing a footpath, following a peace demonstration that went inside an ANZ bank.[4] In May 2006 he filed papers at the Auckland district court seeking NZ$50,000 in damages from the New Zealand police after being pepper sprayed at a January 2005 protest against an alleged genetic engineering experiment outside the Forest Research Institute in Rotorua.[5]

On 2 July 2008, Judge Chris McGuire awarded Oosterman $5,000 and court costs saying police actions had not been reasonable, but rejected Mr Oosterman's claim of assault saying the officer's actions did not quite meet the necessary "high threshold of blameworthiness".[6]

He was involved in a protest in support of Iranian hunger striker Ali Panah at Mt Eden Prison. He, along with six other people, was arrested and was due to appear in court on September 3.

See also Edit

References Edit


External linksEdit

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