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Trial underway over Kaitaia Airport occupation

The trial against six Maori
protestors who shut down Kaitaia Airport last year
is underway in the Far North. The activists,
including 88 year old veteran of the 28th Maori battalion, occupied the airport
for several days ordering staff out of the terminal. Today local iwi Ngati Kahu
protested their way to the Kaitaia District Court
in full force. Te Okiwa McLean has the story. Members of Ngati Kahu protested in full force as they made their way
to the Kaitaia District Court. This veteran and member of the 28th
Maori Battalion lead the march which caused traffic
to come to a stand still. Six protesters are defending
charges of trespass after occupying Kaitaia Airport
last September, forcing staff from the terminal
and setting tyres on fire. Our cameras weren’t allowed in court but the public gallery
was packed with supporters. I’m here to support the family because they are standing up
for their land. The govt has acknowledged
that the land belongs to Ngati Kahu and Ngai Takoto. I see no issue. Meanwhile, the Runanga Chairman of Ngai Takoto, which has Treaty interests
at Kaitaia Airport, says he finds it really difficult to comprehend the validity
of the protest. We need to discuss this issue
and not let the Crown divide us, so we are able to exercise
our self determination, inherited from our Ngai Takoto, Ngai Tohianga, Patu Koraha
and Te Paatu ancestors. Two of the six protesters
refused to stand when the judge entered the room. The trial has been set down
for a week. Te Okiwa McLean, Te Karere.

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