A self-proclaimed Sovereign Hīkoi of Truth’ (SHOT), was turned back at Auckland’s Covid-19 southern border at Mercer.
More than 100 people in cars and buses said they were aiming to get to Waitangi in Northland to help celebrate the signing of the Declaration of He Whakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni.
They also said they aimed to help with matters facing hapu and Covid issues and would seek an exemption to cross Auckland, citing “lore”.
The group, which appears to have had a secondary agenda, claims to have 12,000 supporters.
Organisers said in a press release issued on Monday that supporters held the common value that New Zealanders are "all free" and "entitled to live in freedom".
Yesterday at 7 pm in Ngongotaha, Rotorua, a prayer took place to guide 100 supporters on their journey from Rotorua through Auckland and onto Waitangi. One police car was on patrol during their preparation before departure.
Supporter Salia Hawkins from Ngāti Kahungunu said the main priority for this march from Rotorua 456 kilometres north to Waitangi was to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence of Aotearoa.
“But in that kaupapa we are going to support the hapu, the local hapu. And we have got issues we have got to discuss. The restrictions of freedom to travel, the restrictions of making medical decisions for ourselves. The government is able to make decisions on our children's behalf,” Hawkins said.
But Auckland remains under alert level 3 restrictions. Motorists who do not have an exemption to enter or leave Auckland for permitted personal or work-related reasons cannot pass the police-manned checkpoints, stationed along the region's northern and southern boundaries.
“There are two laws in this country, there is tikanga ‘lore’ law and ‘law’ law, so we come under sovereign law,” Hawkins claimed.
“People get through the borders all the time because under sovereign laws you cannot stop us - we have the freedom and inherent right on these roads on this whenua that belongs to us.”
The Police stopped the hikoi at the south Auckland Mercer area checkpoint after midnight Wednesday morning as they had no exemption to enter or leave Auckland. The group decided to sit and wait at the checkpoint until they could be let through or until their Auckland supporters waiting at Bombay come to them.
‘This is a scam’
But Hawkins’ reply to this was: “Yes, matua Hone doesn't approve. Behind Hone is the nanny and koros and the aunts, uncles, and the cousins who are calling to us, who are crying to us. Because we are coming for the hapu, not one man.”