Hundreds of central Tāmaki iwi members and supporters gathered this morning at the Auckland High Court in opposition to a 2018 Supreme Court ruling which allowed a Hauraki/Thames iwi to claim land in Auckland.
A karakia kick-started at 6am before Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei conducted a peaceful hīkoi from Ōrākei Marae, in hopes to demonstrate their unity in challenging the Crown's approach to the rights of mana whenua in their rohe (territory).
The hīkoi advocates for an old pā site called Taurarua, and Waipapa in Parnell, a former fishing village of Ngāti Whātua, the same two sites in which Hauraki-Marutūāhu claim to be theirs.
Meanwhile a spokesman for Marutūāhu said the hīkoi was aimed at trying to influence a court decision relating to an area where "many tribes have long-standing and deep historical ties" - not just those of Marutūāhu.
Spokesman for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Joe Pihema, said what's happening dismisses tikanga Māori.
Pihema said tikanga is the framework in which the Crown can figure out who has real entitlement, but he believed the message it is currently sending is that tikanga doesn't apply.
"What they're saying is: you can all be mana whenua, all of you have a collective voice.
"That's totally wrong."
Hauraki-Marutūāhu has an account of its ancestors visiting central Tāmaki, but Pihema said that shouldn't give them entitlement.
"In 2012 we signed our settlement with the Government to take care of past grievances, but, from out of that settlement, the Government has created another grievance.
"We want the Government to realise that they've done a complete disservice to tangata whenua."
The iwi hopes the Government will co-operate and say it has already tried to settle "out of court" with Marutūāhu, but Pihema said the Hauraki collective is still determined to get in.
"These lands aren't up for sale; these are our lands."
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are not new to advocating for the protection of the ownership of their land, they bring with them the memories of Bastion Point (1977) where iwi peacefully protested to keep their whenua.
"We will occupy with all the vigour that we've seen at Bastion Point."
The Crown and Marutūāhu have been negotiating in relation to various lands and motu in Tāmaki Makaurau since 2009, including Mahurangi and the islands of Hauraki Gulf.
On May 17, 2013, Marutūāhu and the Crown signed a Record of Agreement, and in July 2018, both parties initialled the Marutūāhu Iwi Collective Redress Deed.
Marutūāhu spokesman John McEnteer said the hīkoi was aimed at trying to influence a court decision, and to undermine the collective Treaty settlement which the Crown put in place to recognise the overlapping interests of the many mana whenua of Tāmaki Makaurau.
"The 2007 Waitangi Tribunal report into the settlements in Tāmaki Makaurau analysed these issues in considerable detail.
"The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei hapū has spent the past 13 years on a fruitless campaign to claim hegemony to an area where many tribes have long-standing and deep historical ties."
McEnteer said the hapū's claim of exclusivity also affected other tribes such as Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Te Kawerau ā Maki and Waikato-Tainui, among others.
Due to the court hearing, McEnteer said it was "not appropriate to comment further".