More than 200 Ngāi Te Rangi members and other Tauranga iwi held a peaceful protest over a proposed settlement that would give Hauraki iwi rights over Tauranga Harbour.

Organiser Meremaihi Aloua said host hapu Tamawhariua, Pirirakau and Tauwhao recalled the history of the area at the peaceful protest, held at the Athenree rest area.

"Puketuke specifically is of enormous significance to us. We have held ahi kā [occupation] over this area for generations. This is not a new battle. But this is our turn now."

She says the protest is the beginning, and if the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Andrew Little, signs the Hauraki deal, he will be taking Tauranga iwi to war.

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"Tikanga must happen before the signing, not after the signing as the minister is proposing. Our calls for tikanga are being declined, so we have no option but to take these measures now."

This Athenree protest signals iwi in Tauranga are gearing up for long-term protests.

- More to come