Maori rage wrecks NZ treaty celebrations

Radical Maoris, angry about a government plan for the final settlement of their land claims that they regard as a trick, yesterday wrecked New Zealand's national-day celebrations at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, with violent protests. The Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, called off the ceremonies, in which he and other ministers were to have paid tribute to Maori-European co-operation, after police said they could not guarantee his safety.

Protesters tried to set fire to the country's most historic building, spat at the Governor-General, stamped on the New Zealand flag, stopped Mr Bolger speaking by unplugging his microphone and threw punches at the government's top Maori official, accusing him of collaborating with "the enemy".

Seven cabinet ministers dropped plans to meet Maori leaders and hear their grievances after a forum set up to avert the protests was hijacked by militants who demanded that one of their number chair the meeting. The traditional evening session of speeches was abandoned on police advice after protesters ran up a Maori independence flag on the hallowed Waitangi treaty-ground flagpole.

Mr Bolger said he was forced to cancel the proceedings. Maori radicals have protested on Waitangi Day for years but it was the first time the government had called off the ceremonies.

The Prime Minister later questioned whether the national-day celebrations would continue to be held at Waitangi, where Maori chiefs signed a treaty ceding sovereignty to Queen Victoria 155 years ago. He dubbed the protesters' actions a disgrace to the Maoris and said: "Coming to Waitangi each year to argue and trade insults is pointless. Until there is reasonable discussion, the country cannot live together in peace."

The day began with a 3am arson attack on the wooden house where the treaty was signed in 1840. A petrol bombed missed a window and the resulting fire only scorched paint before it was put out by guards.

About 400 protesters who attacked the government's land- claim settlement proposal and demanded a sovereign Maori state by the year 2000 delayed the arrival of the official party, headed by the Governor-General, Dame Cath Tizard.

When the party was seated, successive Maori speakers reviled her and the government in speeches while others performed hakas (war dances). One speaker spat at Dame Cath, while a demonstrator trampled on the New Zealand flag. When Mr Bolger rose to speak,he was heckled and someone unplugged his microphone.

One protester threw punches at Wira Gardiner, head of the the Ministry of Maori Affairs, calling him a "nigger" for serving in the government. Mr Gardiner was given a police escort off the grounds after protesters threatened more violence.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies