EVA RICKARD
Māori activist
1925-1997

Champion of Māori land rights

Eva Rickard was an influential figure in both calls for addressing Māori land rights grievances and also backing women's rights within Māoridom.

Rickard's greatest stand came over a 62-acre plot of land near Raglan, which was confiscated by the Government during World War II for the purpose of a military airfield.

While that development never went ahead, the land was not given back to iwi. Instead it was developed into a public golf course in 1969.

Rickard rallied support for the land to be returned to local Māori during the 1970s, culminating in an attempt to reoccupy the land in 1978. She was among several arrested at the site during a peaceful sit-in.

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The campaigning of Rickard and her supporters had a successful end. The disputed land was later transformed into a farm, complete with a training centre and a marae.

Rickard also led a hikoi to Parliament in 1984, which called for an end to Waitangi Day celebrations until all outstanding Treaty of Waitangi grievances had been settled.

She also stood for Parliament for the Mana Motuhake Party and later formed her own party, Mana Māori.