Mar 22, 2011

The hikoi arrives

I joined the hikoi today as it descended on Parliament. The mood was solemn - a sense of sadness pervaded the group. As the people marched through Wellington a strict silence was observed as a means of acknowledging the intense hurt successive governments have caused. It was incredibly moving both watching the hikoi and then joining it at Parliament. You could feel that the people walked with the wairua of their tupuna and this gave them strength.

The hikoi was, by my estimation, around 500-700 strong. Obviously this is well down on the hikoi of 2004. A respectable number anyhow. The group was, in terms of age, incredibly diverse. It was uplifting to see so many young people. The Greens also had a strong presence, as usual, and a number of sympathetic Pakeha marched with the hikoi. The only politician, or aspiring politician I should say, that joined the hikoi was Rino Tirikatene, Labour’s candidate for Te Tai Tonga.   

As the hikoi arrived we were welcomed onto Parliament grounds by the local iwi. Unsurprisingly there was a huge police presence at Parliament. I like to contrast the heavy police presence at Maori protests with the relatively light police presence at, for lack of a better term, mainstream protests. At one of the mining protests I attended last year there would have been around ten police officers. At today’s protest there were well over 40, including plain clothes police officers.

To my surprise a number of MP’s were there to meet the hikoi. Labour’s Maori team was there, a number of National MP’s including Chris Finlayson, the Greens were there of course. The Maori Party was also present, however they tended to hide behind the Nats. And, as you would expect, Hone met the hikoi as well.

The formalities then began. The old people spoke, and spoke brilliantly at that, and a number of items were ceremonially placed, including the text of the MCA bill, in a casket which was returned to Parliament. This was a symbol of Maori discontent. A number of taonga were also returned to Kaipara and Tamaki Makaurau iwi signalling their regret in supporting the Maori Party. Unfortunately the weather did not permit any speeches from the other side.

It really did sadden me to see the hikoi. Many of those participating were clearly destitute. A number had just walked away from their jobs to support the kaupapa. I heard of a story of a kaumatua who felt so strongly about restoring our mana whenua that he walked with the hikoi all the way from Te Rerenga Wairua to Wellington. By the time the hikoi arrived in Wellington his shoes had worn away to almost nothing. This brings me to a point I want to make. This hikoi was so small, in comparison to the 2004 hikoi that is, because people just could not afford to march. In the current economic environment our people cannot afford to drop everything and march on Parliament. Not anymore.

Hopefully something will come of this hikoi. Not necessarily a backdown on the MCA bill. But perhaps it may awaken Maori political consciousness. This hikoi should not have been for nothing.


  1. Great post on this. You have done a much better job than the MSM of covering it.

  2. Tika to korero What a lovely report best one about the hikoi today.

  3. They came , they whinged , they walked away

  4. If you don't want to contirbute in a meaningful manner, anon. Then don't bother at all.

  5. choice post Morgan. Perhaps a new maori movement will come from the rangatira who were a part of the hikoi.

  6. Thanks for the scoverage which really gave an impression of the seriousness and militancy of the Hikoi. MSM seems to just write it off because the numbers...

  7. you say "the weather did not permit any speeches from the other side"... i was there, i was a part of the organising team and it was absolutely the plan to be in control, lay down the mamae, then directly after, turn our backs on the Maori Paati, The Govt and the mamae and move towards a new direction, to begin hui of what now. Anything they had to say was pointless. Kia ora

  8. What i think this hikoi had that others in the past havent reflected - was a very youthful presence. These young people seemed grounded in their pursuit, they managed themselves and other with flair and dignity and most importantly they made a strong statement to leaders who might want to take a minute to check out our future leaders and what they are saying. It was also poignant to see kaumatua and kuia supporting these mokopuna - perhaps these issues might be useful in the review and evaluation of your article...ititahi

  9. I wasn't aware that was the intention, anon. Cheers.

    That is correct, anon @ 3:12. I like to think that it is an indication of the future, however my experience tends to tell me otherwise.

  10. I saw a very interesting contrast to the Tuhoe protestors who couldn't be bothered turning up here but were out in force to 'protect their own' and summoned up the courage to spit at cop cars, cops and hurl purile racist abuse at asian cops telling them to 'go back to china'.

    Despite having more reason to rage, this Hikoi was conducted with respect, dignity and gravitas that reflected the seriousness of issue and they left with pride and most importantly (and unlike the Tuhoe rent a mob I saw at the auckland court) maintained mana.

  11. That is a disturbing revelation, Taine. If true, it is unfortunate. However Tuhoe have good reason to rage and I understand their intense anger.

  12. We object to the Political Party named "The Maori Party" within the New Zealand Government, voting in support of the legislation named "The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutaimoana) Bill.

    This legislation violates and breaches Maori Rights embedded in the treaty named "Te Tiriti O Waitangi" and the Declaration named "He Whakaputanga o nga Rangatira o Niu Tireni".

    We also object to the Maori Party,s continuation of support to this legislation.

    Therefore,we would like to state Maori Party's vote of support for the Marine and Coastal Area Bill DOES NOT represent our support or tautoko.

    We request that the Political Party named the Maori Party cease immediately their continuation of support of the "Marine and Coastal Area(Takutaimoana) Bill, as it continues to violate and breach "Te Tiriti O Waitangi".

    For the asaid reasons given above

    We request that Assent is NOT GIVEN to the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutaimoana) Bill by the Governor General of New Zealand.



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