Last week it was revealed that 81 foreign
bikies have had their visas cancelled under section 501 since mid 2014 - most of
them from New Zealand.
One of them is a former New Zealand Army
reserve, Mehaka Tepuia. He is a member of the Rebels Motorcycle Gang, and has
been detained without charge since early November when his Australian visa was
His daughter Merepeka Matangi said it had been
a difficult four-and-a half months but he was hanging in there and refusing to
be deported to New Zealand.
She said the Trans-Tasman tour gave her family
"Because it shows that people are actually
standing up and supporting for all the 501s.
"..And you know doing their best to help out
in any way, and talk about what's going on.. and getting people up to date about
what's happening on the other side.. that you don't really get to hear or see."
Ms Matangi said her family planned to go along
to the Perth leg of the trip.
Mehaka Tepuia and grandson Nikau Ashby. Photo:
"I'm sure it's both moral support and helping
all the 501s and all their cases.
"I have a lot of faith in this helping us
out.. and all the rest of them."
Filipa Payne a co-founder of the group Iwi n
Aus has organised the road trip.
She said its aim was to visit all detention
centres in Australia, and see as many 501 detainees as possible.
A number of detainees' families were taking
part, Ms Payne said.
"Some people are just doing certain legs. So
they'll be with us from as soon as we enter Queensland until we exit Queensland.
And we have other people coming along the way as well."
She said they were hoping to raise awareness
at all stops.
"We're going to go to every state in
Australia, aside from Tasmania.
"We have huis organised in most big cities.
First of all, once we leave Sydney we'll go via Newcastle and have a hui there.
Then we're off to the Gold Coast... And Sunday we're in Brisbane. And then we'll
take off along the coast, where we've got huis along the way."
Ms Payne said their focus isn't on the turnout
but on helping even a few families.
Labour Party MP Kelvin Davis is going to
Australia today to take part in the Sydney to Gold Coast leg of the trip.
He said he did not have any qualms about the
character test as such.
"And if they fail that character test and are
deported to New Zealand, then I've got no qualms about that either. But it's the
inhumane treatment of them in detention sentences that I believe is wrong,
especially if they've finished their prison sentences."
Mr Davis said he was under no illusion that
this movement would prompt any changes to the law.
"It'd be nice to think we could prick Malcolm
Turnbull's conscience and Peter Dutton's conscience and that they'd realise that
what they're doing is wrong.
"But I don't see that happening. I think just
raising awareness you know further, is probably the best that we can hope for."
He said he was also hoping to visit four New
Zealanders that are being held in the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.