Hundreds expected at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei hīkoi ahead of High Court trial over Auckland land claims

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, as well as hundreds of the hapū’s supporters, are expected to join a hīkoi this morning to Auckland’s High Court to assert their land rights. 

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The hapū's deputy chair Ngarimu Blair says the Crown should have asked them before offering their land to other iwi. Source: 1 NEWS

From 6am and ahead of the opening day of the hapū’s claims proceedings against the crown, the group will hīkoi from Ōrākei marae.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is challenging the Crown's proposal to give two of its significant land sites, without permission, to settle the Treaty claims of a group of iwi from the Hauraki region. 

The hīkoi will pass the two land sites in Parnell’s Judge’s Bay: old pā site Taurarua and former fishing village Waipapa at the bottom of Constitution Hill. 

The hapū's deputy chair, Ngarimu Blair, told Breakfast the hīkoi isn’t a protest march but, rather, a “celebration of our history and heritage”.

“We hold the mana, the tribal authority of central Auckland … We’re so local that we’re going to walk to the court,” Blair said.

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It’s the opening day of the iwi’s claims’ proceedings against the Crown. Source: 1 NEWS

“This is a bit of an evolution for New Zealanders to understand this type of thing. But, also, we’re a post-settlement iwi and the Crown gave us certain undertakings only in recent years and they’ve already walked back on them.”

Blair said the Crown should have spoken with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei before offering land to other iwi.

“We don’t think that’s good enough. The Crown has to be reminded. Going to court is a last resort, we’ve tried every other way.”

He said about 300 people had registered for the hīkoi, with more expected to join them along the way.