14 Dec 2010

NZ march in support of Chile's Rapa Nui

3:16 pm on 14 December 2010

New Zealand-based supporters of Rapa Nui people have marched on the Chilean Embassy and New Zealand parliament calling for an end to human rights violations on Rapa Nui.

Their protest follows recent clashes between Chilean authorities and Rapa Nui people over ancestral land rights.

Sally Round reports.

"They were Maori, indigenous South Americans and a small contingent of native Easter Islanders. About seventy people carried flags representing Rapa Nui, Maori and indigenous people of the world. Organisers talked of Maori's special bond with Rapa Nui, saying they shared the same language and ancestry. At the gates of the Chilean Embassy, Rapa Nui man Poike Riroroko made an emotional plea for Chile's president to stop violence against their people. Ambassador Luis Benavides promised to send the message on. At parliament Maori Party MP Hone Harawira called on New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister to urge the Chilean government to hold talks with Rapa Nui people and to respond to human right court enquiries on evictions on the island. Mr Harawira says New Zealand shouldn't support trade with a country he says violates the basic human rights of its relatives in the Pacific."