New Zealand lawmaker going solo to Mandela service

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Associated Press

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 8:33 PM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A New Zealand lawmaker and indigenous Maori activist plans to attend Nelson Mandela's funeral alone following broader complaints the country's official delegation doesn't include anti-apartheid protest leaders.

Speaking to The Associated Press on Tuesday from the Auckland Airport, Hone Harawira says he's traveling to the South Africa funeral to represent New Zealanders who fought against apartheid during the 1981 rugby tour by the South African national team.

That tour violently pitted New Zealanders against one another and became a defining moment in the country's history. Protesters invaded a pitch in Hamilton, forcing organizers to abandon that match.

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key chose four others to accompany him in the official delegation, including Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples who protested against the tour but was not a protest leader.

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