Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis is urging occupiers of Kaitaia Airport to stand down before somebody dies through lack of urgent medical attention.

Activists moved on to land at the airport about lunchtime yesterday, taking control of the entrance and forcing flights into and out of the Far North to stop.

Protest leader Wi Popata, of Ngati Kahu, said it was a protest against a $100 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement, due to be ratified today.

The occupiers wanted to meet Mr Finlayson and Far North Mayor John Carter. Mr Carter saw the protesters late yesterday, but Mr Finlayson said he would not bother because it would be a waste of time.


The Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill is due for its third and final reading in Parliament and includes the settlements of four of five Muriwhenua iwi -- Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto, Te Rarawa and Ngati Kuri. Ngati Kahu is the only Te Hiku iwi to not yet settle.

The Te Hiku settlement gives half of the airport land to Nga takoto and half to Ngati Kahu, with Nga Takoto having the right to buy out Ngati Kahu's share if Ngati Kahu did not settle within a specific time frame, Mr Davis said.

Barrier Airlines, which flies into Kaitaia, is reluctant to have its planes land given that the airport is not under control of its authorities and this means medical supplies and staff may not get to Kaitaia today, he said.

"There are about 60 people who need medical attention in Kaitaia today that could be effected if the planes don't land with those specialists on board," Mr Davis said.

"Many of those 60 would be related to some of the occupiers so if they truly care about their people they will stand down now. They've made their point, but the reality is that somebody will die if those planes don't land. There are people with mental health needs today and if they are not dealt with there could be bigger problems from that, while there are our women needing gynaecological care today."

He said the protesters needed to now negotiate over their issues over the land.

"The Far North needs that airport working and stopping the planes is effecting the economic growth of the area. So if it continues all those (protesters) sitting down doing nothing will ensure that more people in the Far North will be sitting around doing nothing too as economic growth dries up," Mr Davis said.

The first plane was due to land at Kaitaia shortly.


The protesters said they would occupy the land indefinitely and were building a new marae on the site.