Several of those involved in the 1974 Communist Party/Maori delegation to China were active in the following year’s, Maori Land March.
In 1975, a new Maori organisation “Te Matakite o Aoteroa” (TMA) organised a huge land march to demand the restoration of “Maori Lands”. The march started in the far north and traveled the North Island, ending at Parliament Buildings in Wellington.
The marchers wanted Maori control and management of remaining Maori land.
The ubiquitous Ranginui Walker played a key role, as he modestly revealed in the Marxist journal “Sites” of Summer ’88
“I attended meetings of the movement which subsequently adopted the name Matakite (the Seers). Basically I went along as an observer so as to be well informed on the movement… But… I could not adopt the role of passive observer. As a person with skills that are much needed in the Maori world, I was impelled by circumstances to write the Matakite Manifesto as the legitimate quid pro quo for my presence at meetings.”
Other key activists involved included the group’s first vice presidents, Tom Poata and Eva Rickard, as well as Dun Mihaka, Ripeka Evans, Titewhai Harawira, Syd and Hana Jackson, Barnie Pikari and Bay of Plenty, Communist Party leaders, Bernie Hornfeck and Willie Wilson.
The organisation was in many ways an extension of Nga Tamatoa, but this was kept in the background.
As Nga Tamatoa activist Hana Jackson told feminist magazine, “Broadsheet”;
“The idea for the Land March came from Nga Tamatoa, from Titewhai, Syd and me. We realised that we could only unite Maoridom by having someone with mana lead it. Whina lived just around the corner. So we asked her. Nga Tamatoa decided to play a low key role because the media had given us such a bad image.”
Nga Tamatoa members active in the march included Ted Nia, Rawiri Ruru, Ripeka Evans and Syd and Hana Jackson.
The march became one of the big news items of 1975. Thousands participated, many of whom were, surprisingly enough, Marxist-Leninists. Whina Cooper complained to the media about “communists” trying to take over her Land March.
Known Communist Party members, or sympathisers participating in the march included Willie Wilson, Bernie Hornfeck, Tihema Galvin, Hone Tuwhare and Jimmy O’Dea.
A few months after the Land March, TMA secretary Tom Poata and Nga Tamatoa activists Rawiri Ruru and Tame Iti, tried to set up a Maori Tent Embassy outside Parliament.
They wrote to Chairman Mao, British newspapers and world leaders to intervene in behalf of Maori land rights. As usual, Poata warned of “real violence, bullets and bloodshed over land issues“.
Whina Cooper wisely disassociated herself from these revolutionaries.