20 Feb 2017

Plea to move Waitangi Day pōwhiri for Crown

12:53 pm on 20 February 2017

Elders of the Waitangi marae have asked for a meeting with the trust that runs the Treaty grounds, to look at moving the Waitangi Day pōwhiri for the Crown.

A tarpaulin was put up to block the media's view of Te Tii Marae.

A tarpaulin was put up to block the media's view of Te Tii Marae during this year's events. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

The elders said the marae trustees were not competent to run the event, and the annual circus had to stop.

Waitangi National Trust Board chair Pita Paraone said Te Tii Marae's dealings with the Prime Minister and the media this year were a "shambles", while NZ First leader Winston Peters refused to walk onto Te Tii Marae after he was told the media could not accompany him.

The elders of Te Tii Waitangi marae, the taumata kaumātua, include Kingi Taurua, Te Hapae Ashby and Rihari Dargaville.

They met at Waitangi at the weekend to discuss this year's debacle after the marae's new trustees demanded $10,000 from some media and told Prime Minister Bill English he couldn't speak at the Crown pōwhiri.

The said on matters of tikanga, such as the pōwhiri, they should be taking their steer from the taumata - and they're not.

They have invited the Waitangi National Trust to a meeting to discuss moving the marae functions to another venue, possibly the carved meeting house on the Treaty Grounds.

The group has asked the former Tai Tokerau MP Shane Jones to chair the meeting.

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