Several hundred demonstrators marched to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office in Auckland on Thursday, August 22, to deliver a petition urging her to visit the ongoing sit-in camp on sacred Māori land known as Ihumātao in southern Auckland. Protesters walked approximately 18 km (11 mi) from the sit-in site in the Māngere area to Ardern’s office on New North Road (Mount Albert). Police officers provided buses for some demonstrators who did not intend to walk the entire route. Ardern was not in her office to receive the petition but said that talks were underway to find a solution to the disputed housing project planned on Ihumātao.
Related protests are possible in Auckland and other major urban areas across the country in the near term until an agreement is reached. A heightened police presence and localized traffic disruptions are expected around all protests.
Māori groups have been calling for nationwide demonstrations to oppose plans to build a housing project on land considered sacred to the Māori people. Several thousand people participated in a rally in Auckland on July 30 and activists have been holding a peaceful sit-in at the site since July 25.
Individuals in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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