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Angry scenes as Government meets hīkoi at Parliament

Author
Samantha Motion and Isaac Davison, NZ Herald,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 11:34a.m.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little has been angrily confronted by members of a Tauranga iwi who marched on Parliament this morning.

The 300-person hīkoi led by Ngāi Te Rangi, from Tauranga, arrived at Parliament's steps this morning.

It was the latest in a series of protests sparked by the Government signing a Deed of Settlement with Pare Hauraki, a collective of 12 Hauraki iwi.

Little and other Labour MPs met them.

Little told the marchers that last year there had been an "effort to get a dialogue going" between Ngāi Te Rangi and the Hauraki collective.

"It didn't take off, it didn't get anywhere.

"Ever since then we've had a stalemate."

Little said it wouldn't be responsible for the Crown to stand aside and say "well you sort it out".

"You don't fix problems when you don't talk."

The minister was interrupted during his speech by a furious kaumatua shouting "rubbish".

Bob Rolleston, an elder from Matakana Island, said that if the Government signed off the settlement without considering the competing claims by iwi he would be "taking us into war".

"We will fight. You are making us into criminals. We are not going to stand here and take this ****."

The man then repeatedly yelled "bull****" at Little.

When Little resumed, he promised those gathered that the Government would follow tikanga Māori processes in its dealings with the various iwi.

"I will do what I can to create the conditions for that to happen," he said.

Another kaumatua, Hauata Palmer, warned that protests and anger would only grew if the Government signed the agreement without resolving iwi's concerns.

"This is just the beginning of the wrath of Tauranga Moana," he said. "This is just the beginning of the wrath of Māoridom."

Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta told the crowd that no progress was made on settlements without some pain and effort.

But she warned iwi against damaging their relationships with each other even further, saying that they needed to build bridges if the Treaty process was going to work.

"We shouldn't create more damage than what we inherited," she said.

The marchers had planned to leave from the ferry terminal but plans changed and they gathered outside the Wellington Railway Station instead.

They walked the short distance to Parliament singing and chanting, waving tino rangatiratanga flags, and hoisting mana moana signs - and streaming live on Facebook.

They arrived shortly before 9am.

 

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