A man found driving around Hastings with a set of fake licence plates linked to a sovereignty movement, was arrested for failing to comply with police on Friday morning.
Police stopped a car with fake plates, which read "Tino Rangatiratanga", a phrase long associated with Māori autonomy and sovereignty, in Mayfair about 9.40am.
A 20-year-old man was on Grove Rd near Karamu Rd when he was arrested and charged with failing to comply with police - he will appear in the Hastings District Court on Saturday.
The "Tino Rangatiratanga" plate is linked to a movement by the Te-Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa Embassy, which issues travel and identification documents of its own.
Peter Martin, Te-Ika-a-Maui ambassador for Te-Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa, said he had been made aware of the arrest on Friday morning and had spoken with police.
He said the group was formed to "try and assert what was given to us".
"We are not trying to undermine safety or any of those kinds of things."
A 20-year-old man was arrested and charged with failing to comply with police after being found driving with fake plates around Hastings on Friday morning. Photo / Gianina Schwanecke
As an example, he explained they encouraged people to take their cars in to be checked by a garage but not necessarily to get a Warrant of Fitness.
"We're trying to separate out the lawfulness of the revenue gathering part of the law."
He said the movement was born out of necessity in response to "heavy handed" policies by the government and for those who felt disenfranchised.
Anyone is able to join and apply for a "diplomatic immunity card" - for a fee - by supplying some form of other ID such as a New Zealand driver licence or birth certificate.
A note on the group's website reads, "We encourage the NZ Police to please contact our friendly Ambassadors - before you arrest any of our Diplomatic Immunity Card bearers".
A police spokesperson said only plates issued by Waka Kotahi were legal, meaning "you can't make your own plate".
Displaying a fake plate is not an offence on its own that would necessitate someone being arrested, they said.
However, displaying a plate that hasn't been legally issued can result in a $100 fine, 25 demerit points and confiscation of the plates.