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Mana whenua urge 'peaceful presence' from Parliament protestors

Pōneke Mana whenua are urging protestors descending on Parliament tomorrow to respect tikanga and maintain a "peaceful presence" that causes minimal disruption.

"No one wants a repeat of last February's occupation that ended in violence," Taranaki Whānui chair Kara Puketapu-Dentice says.

"At the last protest, we laid down Te Kahu o Te Raukura – a cloak of aroha and peace over the Parliament grounds and our ancestral whenua, to bring calm to the situation.

"Te Raukura contains the three feathers representing honour, peace and goodwill – the same symbol used at Parihaka."

Parliament grounds have been shored up ahead of the arrival of the 'Freedom and Rights' coalition movement tomorrow.

Blackout curtains have been placed on windows at the front of the Beehive and although the grounds remain open, the protest will not be allowed to position itself on the lawn in front of the buildings.

Tikanga paramount

At a media briefing this evening Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined to say if any of her ministers intended to meet with protestors but said she had no intention to.

Taranaki Whānui is echoing the sentiments of Kingi Tuheitia during his koroneihana speech in Ngāruawāhia yesterday.

"The king said tikanga is paramount in Te Ao Māori and dictates how we interact, with who and when. It's about doing what's right for the collective, not just the individual," Puketapu-Dentice says.

He says the tribe stands with "residents, local businesses, politicians and police" in calling for peace and minimal disruption.

"As others have said, we're not against protesting, but Wellingtonians have a right to get on with their lives without interference and violence."

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