Māori protesters march to Waitangi for historic protest as simmering tensions boil over

Māori protesters march to Waitangi for historic protest as simmering tensions boil over

By abc.net.au
Wednesday 07/02/2024
Māori came from all over Aotearoa to join this year's Waitangi Day event.(Getty Images: Fiona Goodall)

More than 1,000 people have marched into the treaty grounds at Waitangi on New Zealand's north island — the culmination of a week-long protest against a controversial government bill.

The hīkoi made the journey across the bridge into Waitangi — a historic crossing for the resurgent Māori protest movement.

This Waitangi has seen a resurgent attendance, with tens of thousands of people visiting the grounds where New Zealand's founding document was signed more than 180 years ago.

And as the hīkoi, or march, moved through the ground, it swelled, with onlookers joining the procession.

The hīkoi had travelled more than 200 kilometres before entering Waitangi, where its organiser Rueben Tipari addressed those who had made the journey and the crowd that had formed along the final leg.

He told the crowd:

"We want our people to not just hīkoi together and then go home … back to our individual lives. [We want them to] sustain this resistance. Sustain this solidarity. Sustain this kotahitanga, whānau, and we will find our freedom."

This year's Waitangi Day is bigger than any of the past 30 years because at the moment Māori feel there is a lot to protest against in Aotearoa.

By Emily Clarke in Waitangi

Original article link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-06/maori-protesters-nz-clash-with-nz-prime-minister-waitangi-day/103421202

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