Protestors close down Wairoa Bridge

A large number of local Maori are protesting today by walking across the Wairoa Bridge. Photos: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

A protest march across the Wairoa Bridge has caused traffic delays this morning.

Local Maori are protesting against the signing of a Treaty settlement between the government and a collective of Hauraki iwi that would give them special rights in Tauranga.

A press release from the protest group states for many weeks, the Crown has denied a signing date was set, even after internal emails were intercepted indicating the Crown was secretly organising the signing with Hauraki for July 22.

However, on Friday the Crown admitted the signing is planned to take place on July 22, ‘proving the Crown has been lying to the people of Tauranga Moana’ about their plans regarding the Treaty deal.

Speaking to a reporter at the scene, Tauranga Police Sergeant Wayne Hunter says the highway will be completely closed until all of the protestors are across.

The NZTA estimates the road will be cleared by 11.30am at the latest.



Posted on 17-07-2017 21:18 | By Marie Bourke

How sad it is to read the many posts quoting "arrogance, minorities and special treatment."BORING.I have always believed in every mans right to speak up in the face of injustice.Do you understand the implications of the Hauraki Iwi having a say in Tauranga Moana? Wouldn’t the world be a truly magical place if everything fitted into neat little boxes.When people concerned for the future of Tauranga Moana just blinked their eyes and all their dreams came true! I’m sure historically people wanting to affect change just quietly asked the decision makers to pretty please see reason.So as one of the Pakeha involved in yesterdays Hikoi. I am very sorry if me exercising my right to protest held up your plans for the day. One day you may thank all involved, instead of being concerned about you’re 30 minute delay.

Hey Coleen

Posted on 16-07-2017 19:44 | By Tgaboy

You may have missed my point when I said I support their cause. However I don’t think it’s right to inconvenience the people of Tauranga just to get your point heard. Everyone’s fighting their own fight. We don’t need to make life harder for each other. But then, maybe other folks weren’t taught consideration for others like I was.

Blood will be spilt?

Posted on 16-07-2017 19:38 | By stokey

In the old days blood would be spilt and love them or hate them the Treaty Settlements process stopped this. Whatever the claims of rights by various iwi, the complicated and convoluted nature of customary interests is real. If the Treaty process did not accommodate shared and overlapping interests, there would be no settlements in many parts of the country. There are totally contradictory views over the Tauranga claims. How do Hauraki iwi claim Tauranga areas and why did Tauranga Moana sign an agreement approving this relationship? Did someone make a financial gain? Was the arrangement convenient for the National governments puppet Finlay?

here we go again

Posted on 16-07-2017 18:43 | By old trucker

And they get their photo taken and get blue line escort,and then get airtime on TV, imagine the cars backed up for africa,and they get away with this rubbish,was there a TCCmember there checking for parking and NO warrants of fitness and out of date REGO,S me dont tinks so as they would have been chased away, its easy pickings in town,my thoughts only on this Sunlive Thankyou,10-4 out.

Ignorance of locals

Posted on 16-07-2017 18:40 | By Meelz

Denny G, "these minority people" as you call them, have more right to walk that road than anyone you claim should authorise it. Looks like there was police presence there so I’m sure emergency access would have been provided if required. For anyone claiming they should do it the right way? They’ve tried the legal and right way and the corrupt government are ignoring what is right and making dodgy and dishonest deals with opportunistic aholes.Instead of complaining get your facts right and pull your heads in. What they are protesting about affects you and the future of those in Tauranga. Oh and SunLive, judging from these comments on this article you clearly need to do a story on the growing presence of rasicm in Tauranga.Its never been as apparent as it seems to be now.

Usual lynch mob

Posted on 16-07-2017 18:00 | By Papamoaner

Selective memories too! Ever heard of the pre 1970’s union marches? Watersiders marches? Springbok tour protest marches? More recent Vietnam war veterans marches? Etc Etc (many more etc’s too). As to emergency vehicles, ambulances etc., These are maori people. They would have made a gap for them to pass through. I’m not too sure if all of us pakeha fullas would do that though.

enough crying

Posted on 16-07-2017 16:29 | By Ness

time this rubbish ended who ever let them close a state highway needs the sack. Greed comes to mind handed mega millions and thousands of acres and they still have poverty go figure


Posted on 16-07-2017 15:33 | By OpzMan

As one off many non-maori protestors on the hikoi today I am totally appalled at most of these comments. Do your homework! There was provision for emergency situations inc NZ Police & services on-hand, NOT that there was an emergency on the roads. Now had you done your homework you would know that the Hauraki Collective cross claim will affect you as you sit behind the screen on your lazy-boy. 12 more Iwi represented through a seat in co-governance of tauranga harbour for a start. I see this as an issue we should all be concerned about. As usual, Maori are out there fighting the good fight for who? Me, you and our famillies. Wake up and help or sit there and shut it!


Posted on 16-07-2017 15:13 | By Colleen Spiro

Everyone moaning because you actually got the attention of people that have NEVER LIKE BEING INCONVENIENCED.....where there is Justice as an issue.....WELL DONE You achieved and GOT THEIR ATTENTION...hmmm and it seems EVERYONE might like to keep their names private....TGABOY

What I want to know is.

Posted on 16-07-2017 14:39 | By local yokel

Who gave permission to the local Iwi to close off a major public road that ALL New Zealanders are entitled to use? What would happen if there had been a medical emergency or major accident on the main road further out of town. How would the Iwi feel if they had the bridge blocked and someone had died needlessly because of them. Who in the council or transport departments signed off the closure of the bridge and was Simon Bridges the Transport Minister aware of this happening. Maybe the protest should have been heard through the Maori Land Courts and/or the NZ Government and no signing of documents happen until everything had been sorted out legally. Common sense tells us you dont block a major highway when your beef is with the government and you selected Iwi’s, some of who have descended from the same tribes you have


Posted on 16-07-2017 14:27 | By roseh

Why are these people allowed to do as they like and the powers that be LET THEM>My God if thewhite man did it he would be in big trouble.They complain about not being treated fair,but seems they ask for all the critcisum they get carrying on like fools.WHO THE HELL DO THEY THINK THEY ARE

Don't Blame them.

Posted on 16-07-2017 13:55 | By Rocko

Blame our National Government for passing the -- ’ Resource Legislation Amendment Bill’ recently.

I agree with Dumbkof2 and Tgaboy

Posted on 16-07-2017 13:38 | By GreertonBoy

We need to start protesting and blocking Mareas for white equality? How I desire equal rights.... for we whites to be equal to maori would be amazing.... I cant help but notice, as with most of the protests... there might be a few hard core protesters wearing maori attire, the rest are wearing terrible ’white mans’ clothes and recording everything on their latest iphone so they can put it on farcebook...


Posted on 16-07-2017 13:19 | By Tgaboy

I fully support your grievance with what is happening involving the other iwis and that govt minister. However, your protests to date have done little more than frustrate and inconvenience the people who share your community, and who otherwise might support you. As a result you folk come across as inconsiderate aholes crapping on others who,have nothing to do with your fight. A protest well considered? Nope.

More Warning for Drivers.

Posted on 16-07-2017 13:16 | By BlueberryBee

Everyone deserves the right to protest peacefully. What I cant get my head around is the lack of warning to motorists. If it wasn’t for a random post on face book this morning and putting to and to together from a headliner in the local rag I would be sitting in that traffic today. I did check sunlive this morning and there was no warming’s that I noticed at a glance. Took a random google search that took me to a random news sight to confirm todays protest.

Not very clever.

Posted on 16-07-2017 12:59 | By Kancho

Regardless of rights or wrongs why should the public of Tauranga be the target. It does them and their cause no good at all to antagonise the public by stopping people going about their business.


Posted on 16-07-2017 12:59 | By dumbkof2

all creditability these i want it (iwi) crowd has now gone down the river

Well Local Maori, You Sure Know How To Get Everyone's Backs Up!!! :(

Posted on 16-07-2017 12:45 | By Bruja

Would have been a damn shame if emergency vehicles had to get through eh??? Also, everyone’s lives, issues are important. People other than you ALSO had things to do this morning. How arrogant you are. NOT the way to achieve what you want. I hope lessons have been learned today. Never again! I would have stood by what you are wanting to achieve, now all you’ve done is make me hope that that other Iwi gets what they want. Hope none of your whanau needed to get to hospital in a hurry eh? :(


Posted on 16-07-2017 12:24 | By dumbkof2

what say we organize a protest outside the marie and march up and down block the road to protest about the protesters

Who allows this

Posted on 16-07-2017 12:19 | By Denny G

Which authority gave permission for these minority people to close a main road ? Once again, those that make the most noise get all the attention - reminds me of little children !!!

Hooray for maori

Posted on 16-07-2017 12:12 | By Tgaboy

Such productive and considerate members of society.

The protest

Posted on 16-07-2017 12:11 | By Merlin

Should not have been held on a main highway.Would they have been able to let emergency services through in a timely manner and I wonder who issued the permit.Plenty of other places to protest.Agree with @ Hot Stuff there are different treatment of laws under the separitism we have in this Country.

get noticed

Posted on 16-07-2017 12:10 | By ow

next time maybe the bridge further up the river as well ?


Posted on 16-07-2017 12:06 | By dbunk

It is user pays on Mauao,if the public want walking tracks on it the public must pay to maintain them, do the farmers that have the rail trail cycle track in the south island pay for the maintenance of these tracks purely because they are on their farm? The mountain would be in amazing condition if it didn’t have tracks carved in it.

not one law for all anymore

Posted on 16-07-2017 11:53 | By hapukafin

Its SH2 go ahead with your march its OK but for TCC and NZTA why cant they keep it to one lane in the direction of the march.Get a grip you guys


Posted on 16-07-2017 11:20 | By WSTAKL

and while we’re at it, if Ngati Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga iwi ’own’ Mauao why aren’t they forking out the over $2million to repair the base track?

@ Hot stuff

Posted on 16-07-2017 11:09 | By astex

Sadly these days, you are probably covered by a different law. One law for all disappeared long ago.

Fine them all

Posted on 16-07-2017 10:52 | By Hot stuff

Who do they think they are , if I blocked the main highway my car would be impounded and I would be in court

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