Māori protesters rally in Christchurch

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Christchurch's Bridge of Remembrance on Thursday.

They were supporting calls by a Māori group, one backed by Te Pāti Māori, urging the coalition government to honour the Treaty of Waitangi.

The 'nationwide activation' series of hikoi were aimed at disrupting the coalition government's budget announcements.

Among the demands, activists want the government to change its stance around the disestablishment of the Māori Health Authority and Māori wards, despite both only being introduced in recent years, the group claims losing them could take Māori back decades.

Ngai Tahu councillor at Environment Canterbury Iaean Cranwell voiced his concerns.
Ngai Tahu councillor at Environment Canterbury Iaean Cranwell voiced his concerns.

The hour-long rally was a follow-up to Te Pāti Māori’s Day of National Action last year.

The large rally forced the closure of the popular Oxford Tce/Cashel St tourist tram loop, due to the crowd on the tracks.

Warnings have been raised over the legality of the call for a nationwide strike. New Zealand has clear rules and regulations around industrial action by workers and industries. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said his government was focused on delivering a Budget for all New Zealanders, whether they're Māori or non-Māori.

 - By Geoff Sloan, made with the support of NZ On Air