Tūrangawaewae Marae was packed on the final day of King Tūheitia's eighth Coronation in anticipation of the King's annual address in which he delivered his reflections on the past year and his aspirations for the year ahead, and there were two main areas of interest.
King Tūheitia began by launching a new honours list. There are three levels, with different categories in each.
The highest recipients in the inaugural honours went to Kara Puketapu and Koro Wetere.
“Kara Puketapu was one recipient. Although it's just been in the past 10 years, he's been a tireless advocate for Māori, and has been a staunch supporter of the Kīngitanga over the years.
As for Koro Wetere, what can I say? He's an uncle to the King, and during the reign of the late King Korokī and Dame Te Ātairangikaahu, Koro was a prominent speaker on the podium,” says Rāhui Papa.
“The King's idea to celebrate our Māori people is a great idea because it's Māori acknowledging Māori for their achievements. I think it's a wonderful honour,” says Hone-Haunui Rapana.
The King then took a more personal turn in his address, referring to his health issues with cancer and the controversy surrounding recent events in relation to his youngest son, Korotangi.
He offered an apology to his people and guests and then went on to challenge the media and their ethics surrounding their coverage of the incidents.
“He spoke about that because there have been many criticisms from media on Facebook and YouTube regarding his son. We know his son is no angel.
However, the courts have decided to review his case based on media reports and postings on Facebook, and that's why he wanted to air his views before his people,” says Rāhui Papa.
Finally, the King thanked those Māori politicians who will be standing down after this term, such as the likes of Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, for their efforts and went on to encourage those Māori who will be standing in next month's general election.