PT&I delegation present for Hikoi welcome at Waitangi

PT&I Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade led a delegation of eight representatives for the Pacific Islands under the banner of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Trade Office in Auckland.

They were present at Waitangi to observe the welcoming of the anti-drugs Hikoi (march) to the Waitangi Marae.

The Hikoi delivered their anti-drugs message in a relaxed atmosphere – Northland turning on a magnificent hot New Zealand summer day – a brilliant sun shining over the shimmering sapphire blue waters of the bay below.

Methamphetamine has been a topical issue in Northland from the record-breaking 494kg seizure on Ninety Mile Beach last year through to the increasing number of meth-fuelled incidents that have happened in Northland.

Hikoi organisers said that there was a need for some kind of response or action to raise awareness of the issue.  The objective of the Hikoi was raising awareness of the negative impact drugs are having on families and to stimulate discussion on what can be done.

rsz_1ian_and_mereia
Ian Furlong, PT&I Trade Development Manager with Mereia, a member of the Anti-drugs Hikoi

The Hikoi consisted of a group of 50 marchers but numbers grew to more than 500 in the final stages.  The Hikoi started on February 2nd taking the 5-day journey, walking from Cape Reinga at the tip of the North Island to Waitangi.  The Hikoi travelled through Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Kawakawa that culminated with an official welcome at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on Waitangi Day, February 6th.

When the delegation attended the Te Tii Marae on Sunday, Kaumatua spoke about the growing problem drugs and ‘P’ in particular, was having on their communities and young people.

There was strong support from local Mongrel Mob members that this was a dangerous drug for their young people.

The ultimate Economic Development platform is young people and it was pleasing to see this community-wide initiative getting prominence said PT&I Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade.

A Hikoi organiser, Reti Boynton, said that it was important that everyday people who are living with this problem have an opportunity to speak about what they would like to see happen to tackle the meth problem.

PT&I Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong said the Hikoi organisers and participants are to be congratulated for their important anti-drugs initiative.

“The wonderful thing is they are walking down the road and meeting the people, taking the message directly to the people of Northland.”

Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade also met and shook hands with Mereia, a representative from the Hikoi who discussed the meth problem they are facing in the community.

For more information please contact:  Ian Furlong on ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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