‘Not one more acre of Māori land’ - Dame Whina Cooper
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that states that even a thousand mile journey begins with the first step. In the case of the Māori land march of 1975 it was a 1055 kilometre trek, but also the start of a much larger journey shared by our nation over the past forty years.
It could be argued that the journey towards the revitalisation of Māori culture and language began 14thof September forty years ago to protest against Māori land loss.
After six months of planning, 50 marchers left Te Hāpua led by then 79-year-old Whina Cooper.
By the time they reached Parliament on the 13th of October, having walked the length of the North Island, their numbers had swelled to 5000. Here they presented a petition signed by 60,000 people to Prime Minister Bill Rowling calling for an end to the alienation of Māori land. It was a watershed moment for New Zealand.