Topic: Waitangi

Te Tii Marae trustees stand their ground

  • Northland

Te Tii Marae trustees standing their ground has led Prime Minister John Key to pull out of attending celebrations at Waitangi this year.

The Prime Minister’s decision will see him go back on a commitment he made in 2007 to attend celebrations every year.

While an invite was extended to John Key his speaking rights while on the marae were called into question.

Te Tii representatives made it clear he would not be permitted to talk ‘politics’ and emphasised the importance of the Prime Minister adhering to the kawa of the marae. 

Key was also offered an opportunity to speak at a political hui hosted by Hone Harawira.

However in a statement yesterday, Key's office outlined he had decided not to go after marae trustees didn't respond to a letter from the Prime Minister outlining his intention to address political issues in his speech, regardless of the kawa outlined.

Key also told media yesterday, "Its all Mickey Mouse if you ask me, but the Mickey Mouseness of it is sitting on their side, I'm sorry but actually we have been very up front, very clear, quite deliberate and very specific."

Earlier in the week, Ngāpuhi elders were divided over whether the Prime Minister should be welcomed onto Te Tii Marae. Leaders met in Watangi on Tuesday to discuss the issue. 

Key's decision to ditch Waitangi follows the signing of the TPPA yesterday in Auckland where thousands turned out in force to show their opposition to the trade agreement.

In regards to the signing of the agreement Key said, “As a country, we won’t get rich selling to ourselves. Instead, we need to build new global markets for our products and services, and TPP will help make that happen. I believe strongly that New Zealand’s future is in being open and connected to the rest of the world.”

Other MPs are still expected to attend Waitangi celebrations today, however it is likely there may be no National MPs attending as a result of their leaders decision to boycott this year.