Māori Land March (1975) - Response to complaint by PM Bill Rowling
On 13 October 1975, a hikoi of 5,000 marchers arrived at Parliament to protest the ongoing alienation of Māori land. Organised by Māori land rights group Te Rōpū O Te Matakite and led by Dame Whina Cooper, the hikoi had departed from Te Hapua, Northland, on 14 September, and arrived in Wellington after marching 1,100 kms throughout the North Island.
Te Rōpū O Te Matakite regarded the land march as ‘a climax to over a hundred and fifty years of frustration and anger over the continuing alienation of their lands’. Upon their arrival at Parliament they presented a petition signed by 60,000 people from around New Zealand to Prime Minister Bill Rowling. The petition called for an end to monocultural land laws which excluded Māori cultural values, and asked for the ability to establish legitimate communal ownership of land within iwi.
The hikoi represented a watershed moment in the burgeoning Māori cultural renaissance of the 1970s. It brought unprecedented levels of public attention to the issue of alienation of Māori land, and established a method of protest that was repeatedly reused in the following decades.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the Land March, Archives New Zealand has created an album on Flickr to highlight key documents within our holdings that relate to the event. These include the petition with 60,000 signatures presented by Dame Whina Cooper to Prime Minister Bill Rowling, images of the Land March approaching Wellington City and correspondence related to the planning that went on behind the scenes to support the march taking place.
This letter from Prime Minister Bill Rowling was in response to a complaint he received over the Land March being allowed to walk on Auckland Harbour Bridge. The Prime Minister explained that no laws were broken as permission had been sought and granted for the march to participate over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. (Names removed for privacy reasons)
Title: Miscellaneous - Maori Land March 1975 and Matakite-O-Aotearoa Incorporated and related matters
Archives New Zealand Reference: AAMK 869 W3074 Box 684/d 19/1/774 Part 1
For updates on our On This Day series and news from Archives New Zealand, follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ArchivesNZ
Material from Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga