14 Mar 2011

Foreshore hikoi on its way to capital

12:57 pm on 14 March 2011

A foreshore and seabed hikoi set off from Cape Reinga on its way to Wellington on Monday, to protest against the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

The bill, which replaces the Foreshore and Seabed Act, sparked MP Hone Harawira's departure from the Maori party after he criticised the leadership for supporting it.

A spokesperson says the hikoi has split into three small groups, two travelling down each coast and a third relay-running down State Highway 1. The participants have been carrying placards and Tino Rangitiratanga flags.

The hikoi reached Kataia on Monday morning and after a brief stop was to branch off to cover the east and west of Northland before convening in Auckland on Wednesday.

The protestors say about 100 people are marching or running and they hope to pick up more as they reach Auckland.

The hikoi is being led by the Popata brothers of Ngati Kahu who were charged in relation to an assault on the Prime Minister at Waitangi in 2009, and went on to lead last year's occupation at the Taipa Sailing Club in the Far North.

Ngati Kahu leader Margaret Mutu says it is deplorable the Government to be pushing the new Coastal and Marine Area Bill through Parliament while the South Island's Ngai Tahu people are caught up in the chaos of the Christchurch earthquake.

She says Ngai Tahu has the most to lose through the Bill, and has been very strongly opposed to it.

The hikoi is due to arrive at Parliament on 22 March.