Topics: Politics, Ratana, Waitangi

PM turns to tikanga Māori after pregnancy

By Raniera Harrison

The Labour Party have confirmed today they will increase the importance placed on tikanga Māori, after the announcement of Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern's pregnancy last week.

"At the news the Prime Minister was pregnant, there was a definite increase in importance placed upon the adheral to protocol on the marae" says MP for Tāmaki Makaurau, Peeni Henare.

Henare today revealed to Te Kāea that the Labour Party have been in discussions on how to approach the upcoming pōwhiri for the Party, and leader, Jacinda Ardern, who alongside partner, TV personality Clarke Gayford are expecting their first child in June.

The Prime Minister will be formally welcomed on to Rātana Pā tomorrow as part of the 100th birthday celebrations of the faiths founder, Tahu Pōtiki Wiremu Rātana.

Added to that, there has been much discussion surrounding the now confirmed pōwhiri at Te Whare Rūnanga as part of this years national Waitangi Day commemorations.

"These are the protocol of our ancestors to protect and guard our women and children on the marae at all times. It is a substantial undertaking" says Henare.

The MP for Tāmaki Makaurau, who is now in his second term in the seat revealed exclusively to Te Kāea that he will partner with deputy leader, Kelvin Davis to control and navigate the minefield of tikanga Māori possibilities that may arise for the Party and their leader during her pregnancy. A political recalibration which has been welcomed by former Human Rights Commissioner, and lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology, Dr. Ella Henry.

"The whole idea of the whare tangata, the home of our unborn babies being protected is very much a part of the tikanga" says Henry.

She adds that from a traditional Māori epistemological worldview that the Prime Minister and her child are in the ultimate state of tapu, and all precautionary measures are welcomed whilst undertaking the sacriligious pōwhiri process.

"This is about the power of mana wahine, of mana tāne and I think that is something ancient and important in our culture that we have equality" adds Henry.

Pregnant Ardern will undergo her first pōwhiri process, alongside the Labour Party, at Rātana Pā tomorrow.