9 Oct 2008

Right to tell Maori love story disputed

9:20 am on 9 October 2008

The Waitangi National Trust is defending its right to use the love life of a Ngapuhi woman for a new theatrical attraction at the Treaty Grounds.

Waatea News reports Maikuku: Maiden of the Weeping Waters is based on the life of a woman who lived in a cave on the Waitangi foreshore 150 years before the Treaty was signed.

Local hapu say they were not consulted about the play.

But deputy chair Pita Paraone says the trust is free to use local histories in its attractions.

Rather than discuss the issue, Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Kawa walked out of a hui with trust staff this week.

Emma Gibbs from the hapu says they did so because they did not consider the issue was being treated seriously.

She says the hapu have kept the stories of Maikuku to themselves, and it's not the place of the trust to tell them.

However, Mr Paraone says as long as the correct story is told, the trust has a right to tell it.

Waatea News reports the show runs five nights a week; tickets are $25.