Change of focus for annual pre-Waitangi Day hikoi

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Marchers in last year's hikoi focused on oil exploration off Northland's west coast, near Te Tii Marae. Photo / John Stone
Marchers in last year's hikoi focused on oil exploration off Northland's west coast, near Te Tii Marae. Photo / John Stone

The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement - due to be signed in Auckland on February 4 - will be the focus of this year's pre-Waitangi Day hikoi from Cape Reinga.

Every year a hikoi leaves the Cape early on February 1 and arrives at Waitangi on February 5, coinciding with the welcome of the nation's politicians at Te Tii Marae.

The chief issue for marchers on last year's Hikoi ki Waitangi was oil exploration, particularly by Norwegian firm Statoil off Northland's west coast. This year the subject firing up marchers is expected to be the TTP.

Organiser Rueben Taipari of Ahipara said with the signing taking place just days before Waitangi Day, this year's hikoi would travel to Auckland to join the Queen St TPP rally on February 4.

The marchers would then return to Northland for the traditional welcome on to Te Tii Marae on February 5.

The hikoi would leave Cape Reinga early on February 1 and pass through Kaitaia at noon. On February 2 and 3 the group would push through Moerewa and Kawakawa, using electric cars and bikes as much as possible.

Mr Taipari said the TPP would take take precedence over the oil drilling campaign this year, because of the agreement's potential to protect foreign corporations' rights without accountability to New Zealanders or requirements to honour the Treaty of Waitangi.

- Northern Advocate

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