Thousands send a clear message “Aotearoa is not for Sale” #hikoi (+photos)

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(TangataWhenua.com) The beauty of the day was a tohu. Bright sunshine, soft breezes and piercing blue skies greeted us throughout the day (after the weather presenter told us it would rain, lol). People started to assemble at Te Papa from 10am onwards. The group which grew bigger over the course of the day was a diverse mix of people, execs, workers, Maori, Pakeha, young and old, all sending a clear message to the National-led govt, that this land, this whenua, and in particular the assets that are held collectively by all New Zealanders are not for sale.

We saw video on the Stuff and true to his smug form, PM John Key lied saying he didn’t even know the hikoi was on, which makes us laugh because, when the Facebook rumour that John Key was banning hangi hit the blogosphere a few months back, his comms team were all in a tither trying to make it clear that he definitely wasn’t banning hangi, suggesting that not only does he know what rumors are the soup d’joure, he is very carefully informed during significant times of unrest.

Back to the hikoi. Great to see that the slowest ones on the journey set the pace, the tamariki, the kaumatua and those with disabilities took to the front, followed by over 5000 New Zealanders who wanted to make it clear, that selling off assets that were built up over generations needed more of a mandate then just winning an election.

As the hikoi slowly made it’s way through the Wellington streets, workers looked down upon us, the majority of them sharing smiles, waves and lots of thumbs up, in clear support of our efforts.

It wasn’t long before we made it to Parliament, and quickly the grass area was filled up.

(Stuff.co.nz) As the group reached the steps of parliament chanting “we want Dunne”, in reference to MP Peter Dunne holding a key vote on asset sales.They were also chanting: “who’s got the power? – we’ve got the power”.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was a crowd favourite, receiving rapturous applause from the protest when he addressed them from Parliament’s steps.

People cried out “shot Winston” and ”love you Winnie”.

He told the crowd John Key had no mandate to sell state assets.

“Make no bones about it, the Maori Party should have walked on this. They should have been standing up for this and thank goodness you are. Thank you for coming and best of luck.”

When Mana Party leader Hone Harawira took to the microphone a loud roar rang out from the crowd.

“This is not about politics, this is not about parties, this is about people,” he said.

“This issue is crucial for out children and our grandchildren for generations to come.”

He then started a chant, yelling “Aotearoa is not for sale, tell John Key to go to hell”.

Green Party leader Russel Norman said that the number of people in protesting today represented the unhappiness New Zealanders feel over the proposed asset sales.

“I think it’s critical we keep the pressure on, the government has a very thin majority on this.”

Earlier a protestor climbed a statue of former Prime Minister Richard Seddon and erected a Maori sovereignty flag to the applause of the crowd.

There was a large Mana Party presence and many supporters have travelled from the Far North, including party leader Harawira, the party’s sole MP.

The march left Te Papa earlier this morning and has now reached parliament grounds.

Marcher Moana Henry said she had travelled down from Hamilton to take part in the Wellington hikoi.

“I’m just hoping that this will bring a broader awareness to this problem and people aware that the has no mandate to do what they’re doing.”

“This about my children and my children’s children because there’s going to be anything left if the government keep carrying on the way they are.”

Protestor Alex Wong, a chef from Whangarei, said: “I’ve come to protest about the Government attack against the workers and the lower classes in general.”

He thought it was fantastic that so many people had turned out to the hikoi.

“This is democracy isn’t it. This is our way of letting them know. When you get support together like this, it sends a strong message to people.”

The protest was accompanied by a large contingent of police including Maori wardens.

Traffic was controlled by traffic barriers across the city and several road closures were in place.The group stayed at Titahi Bay Marae last night and left for Wellington City this morning.

Wellington Police District Inspector Simon Perry said police closed some central city roads to protect the safety of the marchers, including the elderly and young children.

About 80 people marched through the streets of Johnsonville yesterday morning as part of a hikoi protesting the sale of state assets.

The group then marched to Ohariu MP Peter Dunne’s office to try and convince him to oppose asset sales.

They targeteted the United Future leader because his vote could stop the asset sales from going ahead.

Aileen Morris and her daughter, Kaizen, 4, began the hikoi in Hamilton.

“It’s been going really well. People are very strong. There is so much aroha. Since I joined more and more cars have joined on the hikoi.”

On Wednesday, a group of protesters draped a “No Asset Sales” banner on Wellington’s National War Memorial carillon.

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. My place of birth Kaitaia,Tawhitirahi is my mountain,Parengarenga is my sea,Potahi is my marae,Waimirirangi is my meeting house,Te Auppouri is my tribe.I will stand strong with all tangata whenua o Aotearoa.For the sake of my children and my mokopunas.AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE………

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