Four hundred Māori from Tauranga plan to march on Parliament tomorrow .
Seven buses and several cars left the city early this morning bound for Wellington ahead of the hikoi planned by Ngāi Te Rangi to stand up against what it says is the Crown's failure to follow tikanga Māori processes.
Lead co-ordinator Meremaihi Aloua said the buses carried people of all ages - from babies and schoolchildren to kaumatua up to 90 years old - from Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Pūkenga as well as Ngāi Te Rangi.
"Everyone is excited and amped up. They just really wanted to get on the road," Aloua said.
The hikoi will be the latest in a series of protests sparked by the Government signing a Deed of Settlement with Pare Hauraki, a collective of 12 Hauraki iwi.
Ngāi Te Rangi leaders say Pare Hauraki has made claims in its settlement that would give it cultural authority in Tauranga and rights over Tauranga Harbour.
Pare Hauraki chairman Paul Majurey has previously said the Hauraki iwi had centuries-old customary interests in the Tauranga Harbour catchment area.
When Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little visited Ngāi Te Rangi's Whareroa Marae in March, Ngāi Te Rangi Settlement Trust chairman Charlie Tawhiao asked him to park the contested areas of redress relating to Tauranga Moana and continue towards signing off the rest of Hauraki's settlement agreement.
From there, the Crown should step back and let the iwi involved talk and resolve competing claims in a traditional tikanga process, Little was told.
Tawhiao said the iwi had since heard from the minister that he intended to continue with the Pare Hauraki claim as a whole.
Ngāi Te Rangi had been given a deadline of May 18 to bring the minister any new information or submissions, Tawhiao said.
He said what the Government was doing was "not right", and it should allow for an iwi-to-iwi process without imposing restrictions such as time limits.
"What we're saying is that there are some things we need to discuss between ourselves."
"The message [of the hikoi] is there are some things that, if they are not right, we have to stand up and say so."
The hikoi would start at the Bluebridge Ferry Terminal and was expected to end at Parliament around midday.
The Bay of Plenty Times sought comment from Andrew Little's office, but he was not able to comment before deadline.
- June 15 and 17 - flotillas blocks the entrance to Tauranga Harbour
- July 9 - 400 marchers block State Highway 2 near Katikati
- July 15 - nearly 500 marchers make a hikoi across Wairoa Bridge
- August - Ngāi Te Rangi agree to temporarily halt protests.
- May 15 - planned hikoi to Parliament.