A winter chill did nothing to stop the Te Arawa people as the stood together in solidarity for their whānau at Ihumātao.

People brought tino rangatiratanga flags and kōrero to the Village Green due to a feeling of helplessness as hundreds of people gather up north at Ihumātao in protection of the whenua.

Ihumātao is located next to the Stonefields Historic Reserve in Māngere and is considered wāhi tapu, or sacred, by local hapū and iwi.

The land is owned by Fletcher Building and is slated for development of 480 houses, with the agreement of local iwi.

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Protesters have now been in a stand-off with the police at Ihumātao for four days after police evicted them to allow Fletcher Building contractors to go about their "lawful business and to prevent any breaches of the peace".

The occasion in Rotorua brought a sense of sadness to Jamie Rolleston who joined "yet another" protest - the first since she has had children.

Te Rangitutaki Rolleston created the event to stand in solidarity with those at Ihumātao. Photo / Stephen Parker
Te Rangitutaki Rolleston created the event to stand in solidarity with those at Ihumātao. Photo / Stephen Parker

"The act of going to buy flags, again, but this time putting them in my kids hands it honestly made me cry.

"Because I thought 'look at what they have to do and what we still have to do after 200 years and my little 3 and 6-year-old have to shout and cry for someone to listen'."

Te Mauri Kingi has been following the ins and outs of Ihumātao since day dot but today he came to show his solidarity.

"Not in particular for Ihumātao because although it was the kaupapa today, there will be another kaupapa tomorrow.

"It's important that we get together so that these things don't happen again."

The kapa walked through Eat Streat, making their presence known through waiata ending at Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey's office.

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Numbers at the protest are expected to grow as the weekend comes. Photo / File
Numbers at the protest are expected to grow as the weekend comes. Photo / File

Some of the protesters at Ihumātao - or protectors, as they call themselves - are mana whenua, including SOUL leader Pania Newton. She says the 34ha of land near the sacred Ōtuataua Stonefields Reserve was unjustly confiscated from mana whenua in 1863.

But elders from local mana whenua Te Kawerau ā Maki, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Tainui and the Kingitanga have sided with Fletcher in the dispute and asked protesters to leave.

In March this year SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) and its supporters took a petition to Parliament demanding government intervention to prevent a confrontation on the land.

The following month a hīkoi, ending in Auckland's Aotea Square, saw a 20,000-signature petition delivered to Auckland mayor Phil Goff, calling for local council and government to protect the land.

Amnesty International independent observers are at Ihumātao. Photo / File
Amnesty International independent observers are at Ihumātao. Photo / File

As the protest continues, the police have reiterated that their role is to uphold the law and allow people to go about their lawful business, while also respecting the public's right to protest.

Amnesty International independent observers are at Ihumātao to ensure people's human rights are being upheld.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said although the Government would not intervene "it was falling on the side of local iwi and their position".

"They are not the ones leading the protest here, so if we come in over the top it really would be undermining the local iwi in this case."