March 22, 2020
Independent thoughts for viral impact
Advocates of Māori independence pressed ahead with a hui at Waitangi over the weekend despite a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people because of the need to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Ngāpuhi kaumatua Reuben Heihei says the hui was for descendants of the chiefs who signed the 1835 Declaration of Independence, He Whakaputanga, which includes a call for an annual hui to set laws.
Organisers considered there would be little risk because most of those involved would not have had contact with overseas travellers.
"Some tohunga have said the way viruses and infections were dealt with in the past was the hongi, believe it or not," Mr Heihei says.
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