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Hikoi 2004 Whangarei Terenga Paraoa

May 17, 2004

Hikoi 2004 Whangarei Terenga Paraoa

A hui for those who travelled from Whangarei to Wellington in the foreshore and seabed hikoi, and their supporters and kaumatua kuia, was held at Whangarei Terenga Paraoa Marae yesterday.

More than 150 people from the district, who had travelled on two buses and several cars in the final stages of the hikoi, shared their experiences.

One of the organising group, Mitai Kawiti-Paraone, said, "It was a fantastic experience for everybody who took part, and we wanted to thank everyone who supported the hikoi in whatever way."

He said, "The next step is to make sure that people know how and by when to make submissions to the select committee of several MPs, including Dover Samuels and Phil Heatley, who are now seeking submissions on the Bill." The deadline is August 2.

"It's important that submitters ask to be heard in person. We want the committee to come to Whangarei to hear our objections first-hand. It is another way that people can express themselves and record for their mokopuna, that they made a stand against this 21th century confiscation, or raupatu, legislation."

The select committee is tentatively scheduled to report back to Parliament on the Bill, on November 5 - otherwise known as Parihaka Day, and Guy Fawke's Day. He said he hoped the significance of the date was not lost on the Government, and that both cultures should be offended at the human rights breaches the Bill contains, and the blatant discrimination against Maori property owners.

He said people wanting to know about the process could contact him on 435 1840.

The Whangarei group caught up with the hikoi again at Raukawa, near Otaki, at dawn, the day before the big march to Parliament.

He said, "The hospitality and organisation, from our powhiri at Raukawa, the hikoi itself, to being hosted again on Wednesday night before the long trip home, was awesome."

The hui acknowledged all those who contributed to the success of the hikoi - from the Harawira whanau and Mereana Pitman, and the regional organisers, to all the people who gave koha, those running, the ringawera, the kaitiaki of the pou, the marshals, the police, churches, bookkeepers and wordsmiths.

The Whangarei iwi and others, including a group from Dunedin called Freedom Roadworks, stayed at the Wesleyan Church in Taranaki St, one of many inner city churches opened for people on the hikoi.

Mr Kawiti-Paraone said, "Our kuia and kaumatua were thrilled to have been able to take part - some had walked over the harbour bridge, and they all walked to Parliament on the day."

"For people who had never marched before the impact was huge. Although the issue is deeply serious, everyone enjoyed the unity and strength, the passion of the haka groups, and the representation of all the different tribes."

He said the marchers stretched from Parliament to Te Papa, with the last people leaving Te Papa only five minutes before the pouwhenua arrived at Parliament. Many people were also lining the sides of the route to catch friends, or just enjoy the diversity of the marchers and their messages. He said his favourite was, "She sells seashells by the foreshore, but the seashells she sells, are Maori-owned seashells!"

ENDS

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