People of Te Arawa, Americans, Rotorua residents and Native American Indians all stood together at the Rotorua Lake Front to send prayers to those at Standing Rock, Dakota.

The intercultural event was organised to draw attention to the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux in the United States and push elected officials to call for a halt to construction of the US$3.8 billion ($5.2b) pipeline that's planned to carry North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

The demonstration came as more than 20 of New Zealand's biggest names in music rereleased a Bob Marley cover to support the tribe.

Whakatane's Maisey Rika was one of the 22 artists to lend her voice to Get Up Stand Up, along with Che Fu, Tiki Taane, King Kapisi, Logan Bell from Katchafire and Dan Weetman from The Black Seeds.

Advertisement

The song, originally released in August 2014 to encourage New Zealanders to vote, has been rereleased for sale on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Bandcamp.

The haka and karakia were organised by Katerina Pihera-Ridge and her husband, Marcus Ridge.

Mrs Pihera-Ridge, who is part-Maori and part-Czech, said it was important for indigenous people to stand up for each other and because her husband was a Native American Indian it was something that was very important to both of them.

"I'm adopted to a Native American tribe for over 10 years now. This is what we can do from here. We were sending our aroha, our love, and that was either presented in a leaf, a feather and a rock."

During the haka and karakia people placed these items before Mr Ridge who rubbed sage into a mortar and pestle which created smoke.

Mrs Pihera-Ridge said the smoke carried their prayers and sent them where they were needed.

Mr Ridge said it was a really important kaupapa for Maori and Native Americans to come together and show solidarity.

"We have come together to support the water, it's what gives us life, for the next generations.

Advertisement

"It's not protesting, it's about protecting. Maori have this word - kaitiaki - it means guardian and that's what they're doing over there, being kaitiaki for our Earth.

"Big corporations are nothing new in American politics and this is just highlighting one event.

"To be a part of tangata whenua coming together for this purpose is a privilege and an honour," he said.

Rotorua's Tupotahi Winitana led the haka and karakia today because he had been to North Dakota and visited Standing Rock a few years ago.

"I'm a historian in Te Ao Maori and I've studied the Maori wars and what they are doing over there is just inhuman.

"They are cutting right through sacred lands. I think we have lost. . . All we can do is watch them and let them know what they are doing is wrong."

Standing Rock Background:
- Clashes between protesters and police have resulted in more than 400 arrests since August.
- Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners has said the 1931km pipeline is largely complete outside of the area in south-central North Dakota, where it will go under Lake Oahe, a large Missouri River reservoir and the source of the tribe's drinking water.
- The federal Government in September ordered a temporary halt to construction on Army Corps of Engineers land around and beneath the lake while the agency reviewed its permitting of the project.