Hīkoi in Tāmaki demands change in treatment of moana

By Jessica Tyson
Source / File

A hīkoi will be held in Auckland today to demand change on how New Zealanders interact with the ocean.

The hīkoi has been organised by kaitiaki group, Project Aotea, with guest speakers Teanau Tulono, Chloe Swarbrick and others. 

Organiser, Kelly Klink, of Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea, says the group is calling on others to join “to demand an immediate change on how we, as a nation, interact with our oceans.”

“Our moana is suffering. Many marine species have been decimated by overfishing, the dumping of toxic sludge, and commercial fishing practices- all of which have culminated in the devastatingly diminished fish stocks we are seeing today,” she says.

Klink says many of the systems created, such as commercial fishing methods, trawling the ocean floor, dredging and dumping of sludge, have had a ruinous impact on habitats and other marine life.

“The system was created with greed at the forefront, culminating in an unsustainable future. This has enabled some people and organisations to take as much as they can from the sea now, with no consideration for future generations,” Klink says.

She says the lack - and sometimes complete absence - of Māori at key decision-making tables continues to be a major issue.

“This was all too visible at Auckland Council’s recent hearing for the Ports of Auckland. The continued disregard of ‘giving effect’ to Te Tiriti principles has a prominent place in many of the occupations and/or court hearings throughout Aotearoa today, she says,

"Our whakapapa is what connects us to our tupuna moana, but more importantly our constant whanaungatanga within the marine environment maintains those connections. Our role as kaitiaki was never ceded and neither was our right to uphold the mauri of the marine space. Our moana is out of balance, and more crucially, we as a people are also out of balance with te taiao (environment)."

Plans are in place to meet participants at 11am at Britomart Square to then walk to Aotea Square by 12.30pm.