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Te Mangoroa End Occupation

6 December 2004

Te Mangoroa End Occupation

Te Mangoroa ended their peaceful occupation of New Brighton Pier at 5pm 5th December. It is estimated that 300-400 persons have attended the occupation over the weekend, with a core group of 50 remaining throughout.

Co-spokesperson Malcolm Mulholland stated “The wananga has been an overwhelming success. Our main objectives have been realised. Huge numbers of the Christchurch community have taken the opportunity to learn about the foreshore and seabed legislation, and most have come away understanding the true issues that affect us as a nation.”

“Throughout our windy and wet time here, we have been heartened by the community’s generosity and support. Individuals and groups have brought us food, drink and words of encouragement. We would like to express our gratitude for their acts of kindness.” says Mulholland.

“Of the 50 of us that have occupied the pier, all of us have had incredibly positive experiences. What has kept us going, are the conversations with members of the community which end in them changing their opinion on the issue. The foreshore and seabed legislation is one sense very complex, but in another very simple. The Government has lied to us, betrayed our trust, and failed to listen to our rejection of the reform. When people understand that this is not just a Maori issue, that it affects us as a nation, and is entirely unjust, we have succeeded.” says Mulholland

Co-spokesperson Sasha McMeeking says “We also measure our success in terms of the nationwide response. Throughout the country further demonstrations are being planned. Just because the law has been passed by Parliament does not mean the issue is resolved. We welcome a summer-long protest movement, signalling to the Government that they will be held to account at the polls.”

“We believe that Mahara Okeroa will receive his dues at the next election. He maintains that the legislation improves recognition of Maori customary rights, because it is a clear and certain statutory framework. He is simply wrong. The only certainty is that Maori property rights have been extinguished, and that there will be no recognition of customary rights because the statutory framework is the most restrictive and reductive in the Commonwealth. He turned his back on his electorate when he voted for the Bill, inevitably, his electorate has turned their back on him” says McMeeking

Sharifah Marsden, Anishnabe of the Missisaugas of Scagog Island First Nation band, who travelled from Canada to attend the occupation, says “The global trend of sacrificing indigenous rights to the fears of the majority population must stop. I am here to represent the international support for Maori in their opposition to this legislation, that perpetuates the gross historical injustices suffered by Maori. I am shocked that New Zealand, a supposed international leader in indigenous rights, can pass such an archaic piece of legislation. This truly marks an unconscionable return to the practices of the 19th Century.”

ENDS

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