Tens of thousands of people gathered at nationwide protests called for by Te Pāti Māori and others connected to the Toitū Te Tiriti movement.

In the lead-up to today, Te Pāti Māori and protest organisers encouraged Māori and tangata tiriti to participate in protests against Government policies impacting Māori all over the country. 

The strikes fall on Budget Day - a day when the Government shares how it will spend public money in the upcoming financial year.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said striking would be illegal and inappropriate, as he said it was "pretty clear what the rules are around strike action". 

He said he thought it was “wrong” for Te Pāti Māori to tell people to take the day off work. 

“Feel free to protest, that's what we have weekends for.”

ACT leader David Seymour said, “A strike is illegal unless it’s in your employment contract”.

Finance Minister Nicola Willis said the Budget would be delivering for all New Zealanders: “I don’t agree with that approach of separating funding into groups of Māori versus non-Māori.”

Re: News went to Auckland’s Aotea Square protest to speak to some people about why they were participating. 

Rik Retimana (Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi)

Kua tae mai au ki te hāpaitia i te kaupapa kua kawea e Te Pāti Māori, ahakoa kāore au i pōti mō rātou, ko te mea nui me whakakotahi tātou ahakoa ngā rerekētanga

Nā te mea ko te kāwanatanga hou, he mea kino, he taniwha i puta mai ki a tātou te iwi Māori. 

I’ve come to support this hīkoi, led by Te Pāti Māori. Even though I didn’t vote for them, it’s important we come together no matter our differences.

Because this new government is bad, they are taniwha to us, te iwi Māori. 


Irihana Witeri-Katene (Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Pikiao)

I’m here to represent, and stand up for my family. 


Ella Matkovich Tahitahi (Ngāti Paoa)

I’m here to support my iwi and my culture as well.

Unique Diamond (Tangata Tiriti)

We’re here because we heard about what’s happening to Māori, they’ve already lost their land.

We’re with Palestinians, and all the natives around the world, the people who have been oppressed, and the people who have lost their land.

It breaks my heart. 

We’re here to stand in solidarity with Māori, like they do for us Palestinians. 

Jahnaya Tonga (Ngāruahine)

To support my culture through this tough time, and the oppression from this government. 

Face (Ronald Henry) (Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu)

To tautoko the kaupapa going on here in Aotearoa, to make a stand against this new government and what they are doing to us tangata whenua. 

Cyprus Apiata (Ngāpuhi)

I’m here to take my land back, and to support tangata whenua. 

Beth Lawrence (Tangata Tiriti)

I’m tauiwi (non-Māori), but all my babies whakapapa Māori to Ngāpuhi and Te Whānau-a-Apanui. We’re here with their kura (school) to tautoko te kaupapa (support the cause).

Ione Andreassend (Pawarenga) 

I’m here for my tūpuna, for my mokopuna, for my future generations and my bloodline, kia ora. 

Anthony Thompson (Mōkai Pātea Nui Tonu) 

Whawhai tonu, mana motuhake tātou te iwi Māori. 

Keep fighting, [exercise] self-determination, te iwi Māori. 

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