My God I reckon there were 20,000 people at the Hikoi. Helen’s comment on Shrek, haters and whingers probably doubled the size of it. I have never ever seen such a large march on Parliament. The entire grounds were jam packed as you can see below.
More photos and comments below.
The Hikoi starting to enter the grounds. I commented to a Labour MP that it looks to be a lot of haters and whingers.
The Green MPs showing their support
An amusing placard.
The War Party.
A huge cheer went up as Richard Seddon was given the flag. There were at least 50 different flags there. If they do set up a Maori Party it will take six montsh just to decide on their flag!
A view from the barricades. Security told those of us who went onto the steps that if anyone charged, their policy was to lock the doors, even with us on the other side. Some of my ex colleagues were very nervous and did not appreciate my jokes.
A good shot of the middle section. They really did fill up almost every bit of land there was from Hill Street to Bowen Street.
I suggested to the ACT MPs that they should ask if all four of their leadership contenders can speak, and then have a straw poll of the audience. They were very keen on this idea until someone pointed out the voting could be done survivor style with the last person left standing or alive becoming Leader.
Parekura being given a message.
The whole thing was a bit disorganised with no MP asked to speak by 2.00 pm when they had to go into the House. Different chants from different sections. Overall though very well behaved with no incidents I could see. There were a huge amount of Police there.
If 20,000 Maori attended the Hikoi, that is over 10% of those on the Maori roll – a huge percentage for a march. The Labour Maori MPs must be exceptionally nervous. I would say all but maybe Tamihere could lose their seats next election.