Commemorations for Māori Land March

By Harata Brown
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Survivors of veteran protest group Te Rōpu Matakite marched again today to remember those who have passed on since the historic Māori Land March in 1975.

The flagstaff and land post of Te Matakite was seen flying today, to commemorate those who played a pivotal role in recognising Māori land rights.  

“Today is a day of remembrance for the survivors as well as those who have passed on and their families also. This is a call to all of them to come here on the 40th year of Te Rōpu Matakite” said Joseph Cooper, the son of the late Whina Cooper.

It’s been 40 years since the historical land march left the shores of Spirits Bay in the Far North.

The son of the march leader, Whina Cooper says there are still however many issues that still remain unresolved “There are still ongoing discussions with regards to the Foreshore and Seabed as well as the NZ Constitution Act.”

This event also coincides with Whina Cooper's tribe of Te Rarawa, who recently saw their Te Hiku Claims Treaty Settlement come into legislation.

However there are some that feel only some matters in which the land march fought for have been settled.

“There are issues still yet to be resolved in relation to Māori water rights, Foreshore and Seabed rights as well as the deep sea rights. We are still continuing that fight. As for the historical claims, that is a small component but it is not the resolution for everything” says Rūnanga chairman Haami Piripi.

Cyril Chapman of Mangataipa was the land post carrier who placed this same post at the footsteps of Parliament 40 years ago.

Mr Chapman hopes that the next generation will be able to carry the legacy of the Māori Land March “I remember the wise sayings of our matriarch Whina, we must nurture and foster the next generation, so that our grandchildren become leaders.”

Plans to have the land staff of Te Rōpu Matakite housed in a museum are underway. 

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