26 Mar 2003

Thousands expected to march against New Zealand citizenship law

5:48 pm on 26 March 2003

Organisers say thousands of people in New Zealand and Samoa will march tomorrow to protest a law that ended the right of many Samoans to become New Zealand citizens

They will be presenting petitions, containing thousands of signatures, seeking the repeal of the Citizenship Western Samoa Act of 1982.

It stipulated that Samoans born before 1948 did not qualify for New Zealand citizenship.

The new law countered an earlier Privy Council ruling after a Lower Hutt Samoan woman had challenged a deportation order.

One of the organisers of the Wellington march, Ester Laban says tomorrow's march will be the first time that Samoans will have protested in New Zealand over the immigration law change.

"This is the first time that the Samoan people are going to ask for something, they've all got their banners, and all the tattooed men will wear their traditional costumes, and they will also lead us with a Manu Samoa Haka, we are walking there to tell them that we are entitled to receive citizenship."

Ester Laban.

In Apia people will rally outside the New Zealand High Commission.