A small group of Chinese-born Aucklanders were in Kaitaia on Friday, protesting against the Chinese government's policy of human organ "harvesting."
Falun Dafa spokesperson Janet Gao said the Far North visit was part of a nationwide Car Tour S.O.S, aimed at raising awareness of the plight of "prisoners of conscience" who were having their organs harvested by the Chinese government, often while they were alive and healthy.
She described the policy as an atrocity, victimising those who had been taken into custody for openly continuing to believe in Falun Dafa, "a peaceful practise that requires its practitioners to abide the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance, alongside with practising slow meditation exercises".
Mrs Gao, who has lived in New Zealand for 19 years, noted more than 100 million people worldwide performed the exercise, 80 million of them in China, despite the government's vehement opposition to it.
"China is not communist, it's a dictatorship. Being afraid of potential political movements, they are against huge numbers of people doing something else," she said.
"We believe a healthy body is a healthy mind."
Since banning the exercise in 1999, she said, the government, police, Army and health system had "kidnapped" followers in their homes, from the streets and in the workplace, and put them in labour camps, where many became the source of organs, often "live-harvested" from unaware Falun Gong practitioners, without their consent.
"Very few Chinese people donate organs when they die because they are Buddhist," Mrs Gao said. (The faith teaches that, to achieve reincarnation, a body must be whole at the time of death).
"If you want to have an organ you probably have to wait three to five years in a 'good' donor system, but in China you only have to wait for less than two weeks."
Organs could now be purchased on eBay, attracting customers from around the world, including New Zealand.
Before 1999 China had had fewer than 100 centres for organ transplants. Now it had more than 700, with 1.5 million organ transplants in the past 15 years.
The United States and the European Union had passed resolutions condemning the practise, Mrs Gao said.
The group also took their SOS car tour to Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Paihia and Whangarei, Mrs Gao estimating that they had covered around 90 per cent of the country to deliver their message of peaceful protest in the past month.