Thousands commemorate Waitangi Day in lower North Island

In Porirua, the young and the young at heart took in the music, food and fun rides. Source: 1 NEWS

Key's Waitangi boycott sparks debate about how we celebrate our National Day

There's debate over whether visits at Waitangi's lower marae are appropriate. Source: 1 NEWS


Rodeo protesters dismissed as vegan cafe visitors from Auckland

Campaigners against animal cruelty are ramping up calls for the Government to implement a nationwide ban on rodeo.

Direct Animal Action activists say rodeos are legalised cruelty and only two weeks ago a bull broke its leg and was euthanised after an event.

Protesters say although rodeos look thrilling, for the animals involved it's all about fear and distress.

"Animals shouldn't be put at risk just for the sake of entertainment. Over the last two seasons four animals have died as a result of being in the rodeo," protest organiser Kathleen Lafferty says.

But rodeo organisers say accidents are a given and they have little patience with protesters.

These people come out of a vegan cafe in downtown Auckland, they don't know one end of a bull from another. - Animal welfare officer Gary Jackson

"We love our livestock, we respect them, we train them, we breed them, we live with them," animal welfare officer Gary Jackson says.

The SPCA has collected more than 40,000 signatures calling for a nationwide ban but Mr Jackson says they get three times that number watching rodeos every year.

Animal Welfare Minister Nathan Guy says he has been following the issue very closely and after updating and strengthening the code in 2014 is "happy with the compliance".

Ms Lafferty says the tide of public opinion is turning on rodeo and "a ban is imminent".

Protesters say rodeos are legalised cruelty that cause fear and distress to animals. Source: 1 NEWS