A Māori-led struggle against a housing development planned on confiscated, sacred land has drawn in thousands of supporters from across the country.

But while the land of Ihumātao and the contested Fletcher development is the focal point, from those attending it is clear the protest is a flashpoint for Māori issues.

On Friday night one young man from Ngāpuhi said of why he'd come down from Kaitaia with his whānau: "When there is injustice regarding the land, we come together, no matter who or where it is."

The modern-day issues at Ihumātao are complex, involving a private developer, legal battles,

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Digital media playing a key role

Different to protests of the past

Change in political climate