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Ngawha kaitiaki will stay

Ngawha kaitiaki will stay

Kaitiaki at the Ngawha prison site will continue their demonstration even if the Corrections Department decides to evict them, a prison opponent said today.

Corrections gave a verbal trespass notice on Monday, five days after they called Kaikohe firefighters to put out a car fire lit at the site.

A second trespass notice was posted at the site on Wednesday night.

Objector Woody Wihongi says the department is looking for any excuse to get rid of the protesters. The agreement to occupy had been negotiated in good faith.

The fire was lit to mark the first anniversary of the arrests of 30 people, including seven kaumatua.

Corrections project manager John Hamilton says protesters can stay at the roadway outside the main entrance if they are removed from the jail site, but he hoped they would not do so, for safety reasons.

Witnesses say the fire, lit in a derelict ute deemed an eyesore, posed no danger to anyone. It was a symbolic act.

They say the outrage of last year's arrests should not be forgotten. The arrests of the kaumatua were an ugly milestone in the five-year struggle to save the site from the prison.

They say the fact that it has taken 16 months of earthworks to prepare the site suggests the project is ill-founded.

They called on the new minister to visit the noho to talk directly with kaitiaki.

© Scoop Media

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