Veteran Māori activist Tame Iti showed up at the Māori land protest site at Ihumātao in South Auckland today, throwing his support behind the younger generation he sees taking the baton in the fight for indigenous rights.
Activists several weeks ago stepped up a long-running campaign to stop 400 homes being built on the land at Mangere which borders an 800-year-old site rich in Māori history.
Led by Pania Newton, the group Save Our Unique Landscape, or SOUL, is blockading the road to Fletcher Residential's construction site.
Mr Iti was today welcomed at Ihumātao with singing and speeches under a canopy.
He told 1 NEWS he's seen Māori land occupations change since he first started occupying land 40 years ago.
"Well I think it's a different generation. And I think it's really important. I mean these are movements," he said.
"And I think it's really important that the younger generation need to be seen."
Mr Iti said the land needs to be given back to Māori.
"Hey, we're only talking about a little piece of land here. This is stolen property, so it needs to be given back. It's very simple," he said.
He said all the parties need to be around the table.
Mr Iti said he needed to be at Ihumātao because the Kingitanga flag is there. He said it's also the place where the creation of the Kingitanga Movement was facilitated, and has other historical significance.