Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won't be meeting Ihumātao protesters marching on her office but says she's heard them.
About 150 people on Thursday joined a hīkoi from the occupied South Auckland site to Ardern's electoral office in the Auckland suburb of Mount Albert.
The marchers plan to deliver a petition to Ardern calling for her to visit the land after repeated refusals.
But the Prime Minister was in Porirua on Thursday morning for the announcement of workplace training policy and said she wouldn't be meeting the march.
"I am almost never in my electorate office on a Thursday. I am down here in Wellington for most of the morning and early afternoon," she told reporters, rejecting a suggestion she had snubbed the hīkoi.
"They made a decision to march to my office and, as I say, I am rarely there on a Thursday."
But she said she didn't want to detract from their right to protest.
"If they wish to know they've been heard, I can tell them now: they have been heard."
Nonetheless, Ardern would not budge on her stance on visiting Ihumātao.
"I haven't visited yet, but I haven't ruled it out. But that is no indication of whether or not I see this issue as important. Of course I do," she said.
Ardern reiterated she believed her visiting would detract from efforts by the Māori King to negotiate a settlement among mana whenua.
King Tūheitia has been acting as a mediator between protesters who oppose housing development by Fletcher Building on the site and the iwi authority that has endorsed the deal.
"I want to respect that process. That's the place where we're going to get a solution," Ardern said.
She has yet to meet occupation leader Pania Newton, but told reporters she had no objection to doing so.
Newton has repeatedly called for Ardern to come see the land.
"It's just an invitation," she said earlier this week.
"She should come and experience the same significance we experience every day ... and see the whenua and enjoy its beauty."
Ihumātao is thought to be one of the earliest places settled in Auckland and those occupying the land say the site is of historical and cultural significance.
They were issued with an eviction note on July 23 and Ardern announced a halt to the development three days later, as tensions escalated.
Ardern discussed the situation with King Tūheitia when they met in Ngāruawāhia for his annual coronation commemoration, Koroneihana, on Tuesday.
The King this week told the marae that progress was being made.
"Much is yet to be done but I am encouraged by the kaupapa to date, the progress is ongoing, it will take time," he said.
He visited Ihumātao earlier this month, raising the Kiingitanga flag at the site with a promise that it would not come down until the situation had been resolved.