Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Tauranga honours Standing Rock with haka (+ vid)

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A hikoi of more than 100 people drumming and chanting down Mount Maunganui Beach to show solidarity with Native Americans drew the eyes of every beachgoer on Saturday.

A large crowd from Tauranga Moana gathered on the beach to perform a haka to show support and solidarity with Native Americans protesting against the Dakota Pipeline.

Haka with Standing Rock is a nationwide movement and many mass haka have been performed in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who are peacefully protesting the construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota, which they fear will threaten their water source and sacred sites.

In front of Moturiki Island (Leisure Island) on Saturday local Maori stood united as tangata whenua.

After a karakia, korero and hikoi through the sunbathers and swimmers down to the base of Mauao a haka was performed on the beach.

Organiser Drew Tata said Tauranga Moana were responding to a call out to Aotearoa from the elders at Standing Rock to show their support for the tribe.

"There's been a big groundswell of people around Aotearoa performing mass hakas in support of the peaceful protest happening over there at the front lines.

"Our main purpose is to stand and support our indigenous whanau and as tangata whenua and show them our love, support and gratitude for what they're going through at this sad time," Mr Tata said.

"We're all human and it's about uniting and standing as guardians for our environment."
Drew Tata, organiser

He said local Maori would lead the haka but it had been opened up to anyone. "We're all human and it's about uniting and standing as guardians for our environment."

The hakawere from drawn from the two main land war battles in Tauranga, Pukehinahina and Te Ranga.

Mr Tata said Tauranga Moana understood the impacts the Sioux tribe were facing, where economic value was being put before human rights.

"We understand those impacts, we've gone through confiscation of land," he said.

The haka was videoed and photographed to compile an official video and photo collage.

Mr Tata said T-shirts had also been designed and would be available to order for $30. Five dollars from each sale would go towards purchasing a taonga to gift to the Sioux tribe from Tauranga Moana.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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