I’ll be sad to say goodbye to our shiny Dalek (Peterborough’s security guard stand-in kindly loaned by Addington Books) so thank goodness we’re getting some sonic screwdrivers to arm ourselves with in case we get overrun with Cybermen wanting to use our wi-fi.
Forty years ago a landmark event in New Zealand history began in a small Northland community called Te Hapua, the most northerly settlement in Aotearoa.
This was the beginning point of a protest march that, over the course of a month, would take in the length of the North Island. The greater distance however was yet to be travelled – that towards a bicultural New Zealand.
This was an important moment in New Zealand history. Since the signing of the The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, Māori had been increasingly alienated from their land. Legislation often disadvantaged Māori in the way it applied to land that was collectively (or tribally) owned.
Time after time, Māori land was transferred to Crown ownership via one piece of legislation or the other. Māori land ownership had dwindled from 67,000,000 acres to just 2,000,000 acres. The petition that accompanied the march, or hīkoi, identified the Town and Country Planning Act, the Public Works Act, the Rating Act, and the Counties Amendment Act as contributing to this problem.
Organised by Te Rōpū o Te Matakite, a pan-tribal group, and led by Dame Whina Cooper the march culminated in a 5000-strong crowd arriving at Parliament with a petition signed by 60,000 people and presented to Prime Minister Bill Rowling. The petition called for “the abolition of monocultural laws pertaining to Maori land” and pressed those in power “to establish communal ownership of land within the tribe as a legitimate title equal in status to the individual title”.
IF THERE IS NO LAND, WE HAVE NO TURANGAWAEWAE, NO SOUL, NO MANA, NO IDENTITY. WE BECOME A NON-PEOPLE IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.
Though it took place in the North Island, as this map of the march route shows, the intention was that Māori from all over the country would be involved, making it a national movement. It was expected that South Island protesters would meet with their northern counterparts in Wellington.