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‘Together in solidarity’: Pakilau Manase Lua on the national hui at Tūrangawaewae

Natasha Hill

A Tongan community leader says Pacific communities should consider holding a similar gathering to the recent hui aa motu in Ngāruawāhia.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Tongan community leader Pakilau Manase Lua hopes Māori and Pacific communities can band together after the national hui over the weekend.

Kīngi Tūheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII called for the meeting in December highlighting a need for a unified response to government policies affecting Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Lua was part of a hikoi from Auckland from the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa who arrived at Tūrangawaewae marae on Saturday, among 10,000 who attended the hui.

And he told 531pi's Levi Matautia-Morgan on Pacific Mornings, that policies affecting Māori could eventually impact Pacific people later down the line.

Watch the full interview with Pakilau Manase Lua below:

He said it was important to attend after seeing how Māori were being treated and challenged on their land.

“It was a great honour to be there and we were just humbled and privileged to have been there to witness a historic day for Māori.”

Over the past decades, Māori have fought to achieve fundamental gains for future generations and Lua said it felt like a step backward to see these achievements being questioned.

“We're seeing indigenous people being challenged on their own soil. All the gains that we've had over the last decades or more being eroded. It's a real challenging time for Maori.”

After attending the hui, he hopes a similar gathering of Pacific people could be organised to address issues affecting their communities.

He believes radical far-right leaning groups are coming to the fore during this time because of the current government’s positions.

“It's just reinforced and confirmed in my view because it's getting to the point where this government and administration is being led by people who represent only a fraction of our population.”

“You've got a group that voted in one small party, New Zealand First, and another small group that voted in the ACT Party.”

Adding that Māori need Pacific people more than ever.

“We should be there with them in terms of this challenge. That’s a call out and a challenge to our Pacific leaders. Let's stand together, let's stand firm with our cousins.”

Hero image: Pakilau Manase Lua. Photo/ Supplied

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