Hīkoi to Waitangi for international recognition of oil drilling issue

By Dean Nathan

Preventing the degradation of mother earth from drilling for oil on the seabed.  That's the warning from groups marching to Waitangi with the aim of getting their message to the world.

They came on foot, on bike, on scooters and by car.  You couldn't miss the international flavour and the strong youth presence.

Joel Bristow says, “Leave the seabed and take care of it for the younger generation.  We're not only targeting Statoil but all oil companies looking to drill in New Zealand.”

Due to the downturn in world oil prices, it's believed oil companies are reviewing their commitments around the world.

Leon Robert Wharemate says, “I will not support the work of companies that will devastate our environment and wipe out our seafood resources.”

“Why do they want to drill for oil, especially with world oil prices at a low? They should go home,” says Bristow.

From here, the message will be taken through the streets of Moerewa and Kawakawa.

They will meet up with another group marching from the south in Waiomio this evening. Tomorrow they will all make their way to Waitangi.

The international audience is the focus of this protest march because there is a better chance of the oil companies pulling out if there is no support for the work they do in their own homeland.

If we, the people of New Zealand, march as one and work together under the authority and support of the 1835 Declaration of Chiefs, we can stop what they're doing to our resources.  We have the right to stand up,” says Leon Robert Wharemate.