A day after the All Blacks obliterated the Wallabies at Eden Park, TJ Perenara was back on the field - albeit one of a different kind.

The 27-year-old halfback was out and about speaking to people at Ihumātao yesterday.

The night before, as he stood for the national anthem and then passionately led the Kapa o Pango haka, eagle-eyed fans quickly spotted the word emblazoned on one of Perenara's wrists as his arms moved across his chest: "Ihumātao".

It was an obvious nod of support to the protest happening in Ōtuataua Stonefields in Māngere, where protectors of the land are working hard to stop a planned housing development there.


Perenara - sporting a black jumper with the words "Be about it'' on the front - arrived with members of his whānau and met those on the frontline.

He was also given the opportunity to address the crowd at one point - where he thanked those involved in the stand.

He told Māori Television's Te Ao News how nervous he felt, initially, about coming to Ihumātao.

"[But] I just had this fire in my stomach about needing to be here and then coming here, I was at peace.''

He said wearing "Ihumātao" on his wrist was a sign of solidarity.

"It's me showing my support and where my heart lies with it - and that's what I can do from afar,'' he told the station.

He also urged people - no matter where they stand on the situation - to come out to the site to get a better understanding of what is happening there.

"Just come. Just come and experience it, come and be a part of it.


"I know people sit in different camps - I know people have different views - but come and experience it for yourself,'' Perenara said.

"Come and be a part of it and see what the message is, what the kaupapa is here."

It has been several weeks now since an eviction notice was served against those at Ihumātao, near Auckland International Airport, in a bid to stop a housing development being built by Fletcher Building.

Late last week, police presence at the site was markedly reduced.

Only a few police officers remain at Ihumātao.