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Anniversary Day Marks Past and Present Theft

24 January 2005

Anniversary Day Marks Past and Present Theft from Maori

Takutai Moana Poneke members will be protesting at Chaffers Marina on Wellington Anniversary Day to draw links between historical Maori land thefts and those of the present day.

"Wellington Anniversary Day marks the beginning of the theft of Maori land in the area. The most recent in the long series of thefts is the government's Foreshore and Seabed Act" said Takutai Poneke spokesperson Dr Helen Potter. "This history needs to be remembered as Wellingtonians enjoy their day off work".

Wellington Anniversary Day commemorates the arrival of the first British immigrant ship in the area, marking the start of settlement and consequent taking of Maori land. The day also commemorates the formal settlement of the New Zealand Company which largely organised such settlement and theft.

"It is now a regional day of mourning which marks how little the New Zealand government has progressed from its abusive colonial past".

The Foreshore and Seabed Act enables the elimination of Maori customary ownership of the foreshore and seabed in the name of public access while private ownership is upheld. The Act breaches the Treaty of Waitangi, and national and international human rights standards and laws, making a mockery of the government's claims that it protects people's rights.

"We've chosen Chaffers Marina to mark this anniversary of past and present theft as there are locked gates here and signs saying 'No Fishing' which is hardly public access".

"Hapu and iwi, who have historically allowed others access to beaches and seabed, have had their rights stripped away - but the rights of private property owners who can and do deny access are protected. This is clearly discriminatory and illogical".

ENDS

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