She went viral after single-handedly standing up to a group of anti-mandate protesters in Nelson – now the woman behind the stand has come forward explaining why she did it.
Footage captured the moment Jan from Nelson, who was labelled kung-fu granny, decided to step in front of protesters marching down Trafalgar St.
In the video, a bystander can be heard saying “they’re not going to stop, lady”.
Instead of moving to the side, she held a pose that looked like a kung-fu move, hoping to stop the protesters in their tracks.
Instead, the protesters lifted their banner that said “freedom for all Kiwis” above her head and continued to march past Jan.
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Now she’s come forward explaining her spur of the moment stance and revealed she actually wasn’t attempting to do a kung-fu move at all.
“It was such a spur of the moment thing. I wanted to cross the street and there they were baring down on me and I thought I have as much right to be here as you have.
“I didn’t agree with the messages they were giving out. I have friends who are immune compromised who need to be protected from the unvaccinated and from Covid-19.
“My instinct was I’m going to make a stand and my stand was to say you are wrong.
“And no, it wasn’t a kung-fu move, it was a cross. Not a tick but a cross. I was at risk at getting bowled over so I braced myself. Not probably the best look but I made my stand.”
Jan, who has lived in Nelson for more than 25 years said that she was expecting some type of confrontation but that nothing happened, not even off camera.
“I wanted a message out there. Don’t do what you’re doing. It was a 10-second decision.
“I was expecting agro but there wasn’t any but it was like parting of the waters. I just stood my ground and they walked around me. One woman even gave me a high five. Where was she coming from?
“After they had all gone I just contined across the street and carried on my shopping.”
Jan’s moment went viral, with a number of people calling it an iconic “only in New Zealand” moment of history.
Others labelled Jan’s stance the best reaction: “Okay let’s give nana an award for the best reaction to protesting.”
Jan was alerted to her 15 minutes of fame by friends and family.
But she says while she can laugh about it, there is a serious message behind her antics.
“My grandchildren and friends who call me Jan-ma alerted me to the fact it had gone viral.
“That’s Jan-ma they said!
“But on a serious note, I know people who have cancer, and another who has a genetic issue, and I’m bloody old so I need protecting.
“I do volunteer work on the chemo ward at the hospital. I’ve come across too many people who don’t want to be impacted by Covid.
“If me going viral can get just one person to go get vaccinated then it’s worth it.”
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