The anti-mining hikoi which marched from Cape Reinga to Waitangi has ended on Waitangi's Treaty ground with a message to supporters to continue their fight for their environment.
Boosted from the 70 that arrived yesterday to about 300 today, the marchers spoke of the need to protect the environment and of their special relationship with it.
Speaking in front of the meeting house on Waitangi's Treaty grounds flanked by flags and banners, Heeni Hoterene spoke of her ancestor's fighting for their land and said that fight carried on today.
"I'd like to say to all of our whanau that have come here today, Maori and Pakeha, that we need to work together. You Pakeha people have come to this country because it's a beautiful country and it has beautiful resources and you want to live here and bring your children up here in this environment, well with this Government that's not going to happen"
"We the Maori people have been the guardians of this land and we've tried our best to keep a pure and pristine landscape for everyone, the land and the sea but with mining, with drilling that's not going to happen. We need to be united and say to the Government that's enough we can't rely on your to determine our destiny."
She said iwi leaders who were negotiating settlements "and cash deals" were not doing what real Maori leaders did "and listening to our people".
"We need to say no cash no treaty settlements what we want is to continue to be able to have Tino Rangatiratang and live as we were guaranteed under Te Tiriti O Waitangi and live on our whenua and drink fresh water and collect seafood from our moana."
She implored people to carry on in their cause.
"Waitangi is not a carnival it is not a festival it is a time for all of us to come here and talk about what we want as a nation for our beautiful country, Maori and Pakeha."
She said they would not be going to Wellington, saying the Government should go to them.
"This is not a marae thing... it's an Aotearoa thing," Levi Bristow told the crowd.
He said those opposed to mining and the exploitation of resources they could not just come to Waitangi to make their point then go back to their lives and expect things to change.
"So don't just go home and put some pictures on Facebook and say 'wow what a mean experience'," he said.
"All you Maori out there, get on the electoral roll."
He said people needed to take more responsibility for themselves to improve their lot and learn to live off the land and to appreciate it.
Joel Bristow said the extra support today showed more people were behind their cause.
"This is not about Maori... it's New Zealand's interest that we're protecting, it's the world's interest that we're protecting."
He said they wanted to protect New Zealand's oceans for the next generation.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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