Daughter follows in footsteps of her father Māori activist Mike Smith

By Taroi Black

Land protectors continue to occupy the whenua at Ihumātao and one of the occupants is Te Aatarangi Rangimarie Smith, the daughter of Māori activist Mike Smith who took a chainsaw to the pine tree on One Tree Hill in 1994.

“This honestly reminds me of our ancestors and how they lived on the land, congregating, singing, sharing stories and laughing,” says Ms Smith.

Te Aatarangi, 20, has been camping at Ihumātao for the past four days.

“That was our dad growing up. When there was a protest, we as siblings would hop on our bus. We followed our dad everywhere as he led many issues. That’s where all this resistance or fight within comes from, whether it’s for the land, the environment, our peoples' rights and our customs.” 

The site at Ihumātao has turned into a camping ground, where the land protectors are strongly opposed to the proposed housing development.

“All he said was to stand strong so that nothing bad happens. Stay strong to what’s right and fair, but more importantly be happy and see the positives in these events. We didn’t quite understand what he meant when we were younger,” she says.

Ms Smith hopes to continue on as an occupier at Ihumātao for the rest of the year.