Many carried tino rangatiratanga flags and signs with slogans like "Ka whawhai tonu mātou - we will fight on".
The crowd was led by the organisers in a series of waiata while they wait for the opening karakia to begin, and the sound of conch shells are ringing out as the protesters prepared to hikoi.
The group then walked along the Ōtākaro Avon River towards Victoria Square, causing traffic to back up.
A group of 600 demonstrators walked to the forecourt of Parliament grounds in Wellington, and more than 1000 others gathered at 20 sites around the country.
Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi led more than 600 people in a haka outside Parliament after they marched there from a motorway overbridge.