White supremacist materials distributed around University of Auckland city campus

Posters promoting white supremacy have once again been distributed around the University of Auckland's CBD campus.

The material appeared as many students returned for the start of semester one on Monday.

"We are aware of materials being posted around the campus, and are ensuring these are removed," a spokesperson for the university confirmed to Newshub.

"We are removing the material because it is illegal, i.e. defacing University property and contravening the Summary Offences Act 1981 s.33 – Billsticking. This rule applies to any material that is illegally posted."

It's unclear whether the materials belong to the same group who distributed posters around the campus a number of times in 2019. The group, which promotes young, white men regaining control of New Zealand, began their movement last March during Orientation Week.

A Twitter user alerted students to the posters on Monday morning, urging people to join him in removing the offensive materials.

"There are white supremacist posters and stickers up all around [University of Auckland] city campus," @CentralCommiTi tweeted.

"If you see them, please remove them immediately. Please do not post the group's name or pictures of the posters/stickers (let's not propagandise on their behalf)."

@CentralCommiTi confirmed the posters were "everywhere".

"But [they're] also super easy to remove. I've got about a dozen in 10 minutes. Please if you're at UoA, remove them if you see them."

A third tweet acknowledged that students had been busy removing the posters as "there are lots of ripped ones around", yet stickers remained difficult to get rid of.

"I can't reiterate this enough: they're doing this now to provoke a response. They want us to post pictures of their white supremacist garbage to extend their reach... let's not play their game."

@CentralCommiTi also claimed the Symonds Street bus stops had been vandalised with white supremacist graffiti, tagging Auckland Transport in a separate tweet.

The university was at the centre of controversy last year when a spate of white supremacist materials on campus were labelled as "free speech" by Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon. The education provider also refused to remove the posters. 

"The particular posters I have seen... are not of themselves hate speech, they are not illegal, they are not inciting people to violence," Dr McCutcheon told the university's student magazine, Craccum.

"I tend to have the view that we should promote free speech wherever we can."

David Seymour agreed, telling Newshub in October: "The way to deal with objectionable material is not censorship but debate in an open society, especially on university campuses...stand up for freedom of expression so that bad ideas can be rejected by sunlight rather than censored where they will tend to fester underground."

Hundreds of staff signed an open letter, arguing the university is "no place for racism". Students also organised a series of protests, including a petition and a poster campaign, calling for zero tolerance against extremist values and racist ideologies.

In April, the university said claims of increased white supremacist activity were the result of "an increased awareness of racism and offensive behaviour" following the Christchurch attack, with the vice-chancellor calling the supposed increase "utter nonsense".

The police have been contacted for comment.