October 28, 2021
Anti-vaxers gatecrash He Whakaputanga hui
Ngāpuhi chair Wane Wharerau says the arrival of hundreds of anti-vaxers has sullied the annual commemoration of He Whakaputanga.
The hui became the destination for the so-called Sovereign Hikoi of Truth, with a large contingent from Rotorua stopped by police at Mercer on Auckland’s southern border.
A large group including many Pākehā drove up from Whangārei, and movement leaders including anti-vax lawyer Sue Grey flew in from other parts of the country.
Mr Wharerau says the kaupapa for the day was supposed to be the Declaration of Independence signed on this day in 1835 by 34 chiefs from the United Tribes of New Zealand, which was the first formal engagement by Māori with the international community and set the scene for Te Tiriti o Waitangi five years later.
That assertion of sovereignty and independence has been hijacked by others who want to push their own notions of freedom from government and vaccines.
He says iwi in Te Taitokerau fear the event is undermining their efforts to keep their people safe from Covid-19.