Hundreds protest Hauraki iwi treaty signing

6:33 pm on 16 July 2017

Hundreds of people have turned out in Tauranga this morning to protest against the signing of a treaty settlement between the government and a collective of Hauraki iwi.

Hundreds of people turned out to protest the signing of a treaty settlement between the government and a collective of Hauraki iwi.

Hundreds turned out to protest the deal, which Tauranga iwi Ngāi te Rangi says unfairly favours other iwi. Photo: RNZ / Justine Murray

The group organising the protest, Mana Moana, say the settlement would give the group of 11 iwi rights to the Tauranga Harbour.

One of the organisers, Meremaihi Aloua, said none of the iwi in the collective have traditionally been located in Tauranga.

She said they wanted the redress related to the Tauranga Harbour removed from the Hauraki settlement.

"We've been pushing since the beginning but we've had no outcome, so now we've just basically said, right - just put a stop to the signing until we work out how we can resolve this issue."

About 500 people joined this morning's hikoi, which started at Te Puna Station Road and crossed the Wairoa Bridge. Traffic on State Highway 2 was also brought to a standstill for a time.

Previous protests against the settlement have included a blockade of Tauranga's port.

Hauraki Collective leader Paul Majurey told RNZ last month that he was surprised by the opposition to the deal, as the Tauranga-based iwi had known about it since 2014.

He said their customary interests in the area had been recognised by the Waitangi Tribunal.

'If you want a scrap, bring it on, because we're here'

At today's protest, Wiparata Ngatoko - a father of four - said he wanted to support Mana Moana's stance.

"Us as Māori, we never wanted to be going against our own, we never want to be looked at as stopping the progress of other iwi, but when it starts to encroach on the mana of our people, it becomes a bit different," he said.

Mabel Wharewaka Burt said the protest was about showing the Hauraki iwi that they would continue to be a visible presence.

Hundreds of people turned out to protest the signing of a treaty settlement between the government and a collective of Hauraki iwi.

Photo: RNZ / Justine Murray

"We're done with [being] the nice guy. If you want a scrap, bring it on, because we're here," she said.

Ngā Tamatoa alumni John Ohia said they wanted to stop the Hauraki iwi at any cost and by whatever means.

"Hauraki has got no rights here, no interests here really," he said.

The protest marches they were holding were getting bigger and bigger, he said.

John Ohia was part of Ngā Tamatoa in the 1970s.

John Ohia was part of Ngā Tamatoa in the 1970s. Photo: RNZ / Justine Murray

Hundreds of people turned out to protest the signing of a treaty settlement between the government and a collective of Hauraki iwi.

Photo: RNZ / Justine Murray

Hundreds of people turned out to protest the signing of a treaty settlement between the government and a collective of Hauraki iwi.

Photo: RNZ / Justine Murray

Hundreds of people turned out to protest the signing of a treaty settlement between the government and a collective of Hauraki iwi.

Photo: RNZ / Justine Murray