Rangatahi marchers join annual Waitangi hīkoi

Mon, Feb 6
A hīkoi from Te Rerenga Wairua arrives at Waitangi's Treaty Grounds.

A hīkoi from Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga has arrived at Waitangi's Treaty Grounds for the first time in years.

The annual hīkoi from one of Aotearoa's most spiritually significant places has been on a five-year hiatus, but organisers have brought it back this year.

The march begins at Cape Reinga and makes multiple stops in the Far North on its multi-day travel to Waitangi.

Protesters called for Te Tiriti o Waitangi to be honoured by the Government.

A young marcher told 1News that there were more rangatahi participating this year.

"It's about honouring te Tiriti o Waitangi, it's about being proud of who we are as Māori, it's about honouring partnership, coming together and celebrating this important day.

"It's a lot of young people leading our social justice movements at the moment. For our older people, sometimes it's a little bit hard to shift them.

"But the younger generation are really coming through. For someone like myself, it's really empowering," he said.

Another participant said that they recognised a newer generation of rangatahi was taking up the movement.

"I'm really encouraged by our rangatahi, who are taking up the call. [They] come up to me all the time wanting to hear about the history of tino rangatiratanga, the history of the movement. I've got a lot of faith in our young people," he said.

Speaking to marchers, organiser Reuben Taipari called on the crowd to continue their work as newer faces joined the hīkoi.

"Keep our kaupapa going, keep it strong; new leadership coming through today and standing in front of us. We're here to support them and the new struggles," he said.