Māori King Tuheitia endorses Māori Party

6:13 pm on 21 August 2017

By John Boynton

Māori King Tuheitia has confirmed his support for the Māori Party in the upcoming election.

Kiingi Tuheitia addresses the crowd at the 2017 koroneihana celebrations.

Kiingi Tuheitia addresses the crowd at the 2017 koroneihana celebrations. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII addressed iwi leaders, politicians and the hundreds of people gathered at Tūrangawaewae Marae today to hear his annual speech.

He said he has thrown the weight of the Kiingitanga behind the Māori Party and all their candidates.

He also said the Kiingitanga would be involved in all future elections.

"We will make the general election and the need to secure political influence a lifelong commitment as we do with poukai and this event [the koroneihana]."

Kiingi Tuheitia spoke about housing and prison as issues he wants to investigate and help come up with solutions.

He also spoke about his health and how he travelled to Taiwan for further treatment after his liver transplant.

Kelvin Davis is the first Māori to hold a leadership position in the Labour Party.

Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis was in attendance to hear Kingii Tuheitia's address.

Mr Davis said he wasn't worried about Kingii Tuheitia's endorsement of the Māori Party.

"I encourage everybody to be involved in politics and anybody who stands up and encourages our people to be involved in politics is doing the right thing."

Many of the issues King Tuheitia spoke about, including organ donation, correction reform and bringing Māori MP's together, were already part of Labour's Māori Policy Mr Davis said.

Koroneihana celebrations started on Friday and finished today with Kingii Tuheitia's annual speech.

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