Pacific Island churches have supported the Advance Pasifika March which took place in Auckland last Saturday.
The call to march came from the Auckland City Council appointed Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel, which says it wants to stop being a “rubber stamp” for council policies and create an independent Pacific forum.
The chairman of the Advisory Panel is Reverend Uesifili Unasa, Auckland University chaplain. He said the march is a community initiative to give visibility to the growing inequality of people, families and communities in New Zealand society.
“The decision by the organisers to march is a reluctant one. However, such is the concern and frustration by our communities for our families, children and communities that remaining silent or doing nothing is no longer an option,” said Uesifili.
Church youth leader Harry Toleafoa said of the march: “My generation is standing up for our parents who have cleaned this city and worked its factory floors.”
When the protestors gathered in Aotea Square, one of the speakers, Efeso Collins, from Advance Pasifika, called for the ministers, priests and MPs in the crowd “to come forth so the people could see their leaders.” The The Auckland Now reporter did not say how many did so.
The March which, has been called “the march for the poor”, attracted about 1000 people.
The organisers hope the march will lead to specific council initiatives to help Pacific Islanders and create better representation at council level.