Self-proclaimed ruler Hīkoi of Truth (SHOT) was arrested by police in Mercer, south of Auckland, thwarting their attempt to violate Auckland border restrictions. Video / Mike Scott / Michael Craig
Police say they are “frustrated” by the time and resources used to resolve the hīkoi camped on the southern border of Auckland.
A large contingent of police continues to monitor members of the Sovereign Hīkoi of Truth (Shot) movement at Mercer checkpoint after a line of police had to push protesters away from the highway early this morning.
“The actions of the protesters today have caused disruption and delays for those crossing the checkpoint for legitimate reasons,” a police spokesperson said.
“We are frustrated that considerable time and resources are being devoted to resolving this situation and we are very disappointed with the actions of this group of protesters who continue to put the wider community and our staff at risk.”
It is now understood that protesters are squatting in Mercer and food is being distributed to them.
Social media posts claim protesters can no longer access the internet due to “cell jammers.”
Just after noon, a vehicle at the northern checkpoint of Te Hana blocked the SH1 heading north.
A woman was arrested and taken into custody for obstruction. The vehicle was taken off the road.
No protester is at the northern checkpoint.
The group stranded at the southern border claim to be heading for Waitangi, but local Maori leaders have told them they are not welcome there.
Police at the southern checkpoint engaged with protesters, including the occupants of two vehicles that deliberately pulled over to obstruct traffic on SH1.
The occupants refused to move the vehicles, claiming to have an exemption to pass through the checkpoint. Two occupants of the same vehicle had obtained an exemption for authorized journeys.
The bus left the highway at the end of the afternoon.
The police are still considering possible coercive measures.
The convoy of around 50 vehicles carrying around 100 people arrived at the southern checkpoint late last night.
Tonight, Te Tai Tokerau Border Control founder Hone Harawira criticized the hīkoi, calling it “the white man’s walk to nowhere.”
He told Newstalk ZB that the protesters were taking the He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni celebrations and making it an “anti-government march”.
“They wanted to use our independence celebrations as a way to cross borders and say ‘we are free, we are free’.”
The Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand) was signed in Waitangi on October 28, 1835 by 34 chiefs from the north. The commemorations of normal years draw large numbers of people to the campground next to Te Tii Marae.
Harawira described the group as “Pākehā anti-vaccines” trying to resume He Whakaputanga’s commemorations.
Ngāpuhi chairman Wane Wharerau said the rūnanga also opposed the hīkoi because a group opposed to vaccinations was “dangerous” for the whānau in Te Tai Tokerau.
Wharerau said the hīkoi distracted attention from a genuine commemoration of an alliance in Ngāpuhi’s history. Over 100 years ago, Te Tai Tokerau lost thousands of whānau to the Spanish flu and is now facing a similar pandemic, but this time a vaccine was available to help fight it, he said. -he declares.
He said people would be welcome when it was safe.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei vice chairman Ngarimu Blair said as central Auckland tangata whenua that he would not support such a protest at any time as such actions endanger what the people of Auckland have endured and worked so hard for successive closures.
Meanwhile, around 500 people gathered for a pōwhiri at Te Tii o Waitangi Marae in the name of “freedom”.
More than 250 vehicles set off from Kensington Park in Whangārei at 9:30 am today to support the hīkoi’s stance against government mandates.
About 12 people were prevented from entering Tai Tokerau at the Te Hana checkpoint on State Highway 1 this morning.