Ihumātao protester numbers surge into thousands, as ministers enter fray

The number of protesters joining the Ihumātao land occupation has surged into the thousands.

It comes after the Prime Minister announced a halt to construction on the land and sent in two Māori ministers to hear the concerns of those occupying it. 

The Government officials came to listen, but when they spoke they were not mincing their words.

 "It's between you but we have to find a way," said Associate Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern intervened last night, putting the problem on hold.

"There will be no building activity on land while we try to find a solution," she said.

But the solution in this on-going battle to protect sacred land means uniting a deep generational divide. 

And politicians say it's not for them to get involved in iwi politics.

"Obviously there's pressure on us, but then we like a bit of pressure, we've been in plenty of hui in our lives," said Jackson.

Day five saw the protest grow in size. Thousands of people gathered throughout the day, many of those having camped overnight, though the name on everybody's lips is Jacinda Ardern.

The Māori Council is among those questioning if the Prime Minister has done enough.   

"Jacinda needs to understand that she does represent the Crown when it comes to these matters and what we're hoping for is something a little more resolute," says the Māori Council's Matthew Tukaki.

And while Pania Newton - the woman behind the protest - is refusing to give up hope, she says she's disappointed by the absent Prime Minister.

"People have been describing this as the revolution of our generation, and the biggest Māori movement of this time, so it's really disappointing that she's not here," she said. 

The call is now out for the protest crowd to get bigger as they wait for the Prime Minister to join the party.