Two vehicles, including a bus, from a protest convoy block State Highway 1 at Auckland’s southern border checkpoint.
In a statement this morning, police said a convoy of about 50 vehicles trying to go from Rotorua to Waitangi was stopped at Auckland’s southern border around 11:45 pm last night.
The group of about 100 people was moved to a side road so they were not blocking traffic, however, two vehicles, including a bus, parked in the north lanes of SH1 and the drivers refused to move them.
“Traffic has been diverted around these vehicles overnight and the police are currently interacting with the owners of these vehicles, who are currently occupied, to get them off the road,” police said.
During the night, some of the protesters on foot also blocked South SH1.
“Police negotiators and our iwi liaison officers pledged to encourage them to get off the road, however they turned down the move requests.
“About 30 minutes later a police line was used to pull the protesters off the road.
“The group of protesters remains parked on the side of the road near the southern checkpoints and the Police continue to monitor the situation for the safety of all those involved.
“Traffic can still pass through the southern checkpoints, however some delays have been reported so motorists are advised to expect some delays.”
In addition, protesters also showed up at the northern Auckland checkpoints this morning, including more than 50 protesters on the north side of the Te Hana checkpoint and around a dozen people on the southern side of that boundary.
“The police engaged with this group, with the support of our iwi liaison officers and our partners from Ngāti Whātua at the checkpoint. Most of this group have subsequently left the checkpoint area without problems.
“The police are incredibly disappointed that this group of protesters decided to take this action. By taking non-essential travel, they themselves, our staff and the wider community are putting themselves at risk, while additional police resources have had to be reassigned to be able to monitor the movements of this group at the checkpoints. “
Ngāpuhi has condemned the protest march from Rotorua to Waitangi.
Te Rūnanga-ā-iwi or Ngāpuhi issued a statement saying that the protest was dangerous for families in the region.
It was diverting attention from tomorrow’s commemoration of He Whakaputanga or the Declaration of Independence, Ngāpuhi said.
Tai Tokerau Border Control spokesperson Hone Harawira said in a statement that “this hikoi is a scam, organized and run by anti-vaccine Pākehā … with the Covid-19 outbreak in Northland, none has spread inviting unvaccinated outsiders to come to Tai Tokerau. “
He said Morning report the group was a “strong part of the anti-vax squad”.
“When they call it hikoi, it’s a bit insulting … I’ve been marching for 50 years … for tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake, and none of the people I know are involved in this march.
“Actually it’s just a group of Pākehā people with very strong control of social media and they can turn a Maori kaupapa message into something they want. It has nothing to do with tino rangatiratanga, it has nothing to do with mana motuhake, it’s all to do with the crazy anti-vax squad … we don’t want them in the north. “