August 11, 2019 / 4:57 AM / in 2 months

Factbox: History of recent protests by Māori in New Zealand

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of indigenous Māori are protesting in New Zealand, demanding land rights and more reforms for the community, in the highest profile grassroot movements in over a decade.

Protest leader Pania Newton (C) is seen at a protest at Ihumatao, Auckland, in this undated handout photo released August 11, 2019. Tuputau Lelaulu/Handout via REUTERS

Here are some key Māori protests in New Zealand in recent history.

1975: Land March

Thousands of Māori and supporters travelled 1,000km (600 miles) from New Zealand’s far north to the nation’s capital in September and October 1975 to protest against the continued loss of Māori land. Whina Cooper, a celebrated Māori activist, led the march, which demanded that not one more acre of Māori land should be alienated.

1977: Bastion Point

Protesters occupied Bastion Point in Auckland in January 1977 after the government announced a housing development on former Ngāti Whātua reserve land. The stand-off ended after 507 days when police forcibly removed and arrested hundreds of protesters, but much of the land was later returned to or vested with Ngāti Whātua.

1978: Raglan Golf Course

Protesters led by activist Eva Rickard occupied traditional Māori land at Raglan that was being used as a golf course. The land was originally taken during the Second World War for a military airfield. Instead of being returned to its former owners, part of the land was turned into a golf course in 1969. The land was eventually returned.

1995: Treaty protests

There were several major protests about land and the Treaty of Waitangi from the mid-1990s. Many protests were in response to the government’s proposal to limit the value of Treaty settlements to NZ$1 billion ($640 million) over 10 years. Maori rejected such a limit on settlements. The idea was eventually dropped.

2004: Foreshore and Seabed Act

About 15,000 people marched on Parliament in May 2004 to protest against the Foreshore and Seabed Act that vested ownership of the foreshore and seabed in the government and guaranteed public access. Many Māori argued the legislation ignored their customary rights and breached the Treaty of Waitangi.

Source: NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

($1 = 1.5637 New Zealand dollars)

Reporting by Praveen Menon. Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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