Ngapuhi elder backs PM’s Waitangi decision

While there has been some criticism of Prime Minister Bill English’s decision not to attend the contentious part of the Waitangi celebrations there has also been a lot of support.

Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua, on reviewing  an exchange of letters between English’s office and the Waitangi Marae Organising Committee, has switched to supporting English’s stance, saying he had egg on his face after his initial criticism.

NZ Herald: Ngapuhi elder now backs PM’s Waitangi no show: ‘I wouldn’t go either’

A Ngapuhi elder says he wants to apologise to Prime Minister Bill English for calling him a “spoilt child” for not attending Waitangi – saying he now backs English’s decision to stay away.

Kingi Taurua said since making his criticism of English he had seen a letter that was sent to the Prime Minister’s office by the Waitangi Marae Organising Committee.

That stated that during the pre-Waitangi Day powhiri it was preferred that English’s “Maori representatives” speak on his behalf. After the powhiri there would be another event where English and others could freely talk, including about political issues.

Taurua told the Herald that he had mistakenly believed that English had only been told he could not talk politics during the powhiri.

He now felt he had “egg on my face” after he called on English not to be “a spoilt child and run away”, and wanted to meet the Prime Minister on his return from an official visit to Europe to offer an apology.

“I wouldn’t go either. If I got that letter, telling me not to speak and to get somebody else to speak on my behalf, I wouldn’t go anywhere near the place.”

“I want these guys [on the organising committee] out. I want these young bucks to get out. I want now the elderly people to take control of Waitangi Day.

“I’m not happy at all. A lot of the tribe are not happy.”

Taurua said there would be a meeting at Waitangi today.

The letters are here: PM and Waitangi Marae

Also John Armstrong: The tiresome antics at Waitangi have undermined the power and symbolism of the occasion

Bill English has done the right thing in following John Key’s example and opting to maintain National’s prime ministerial boycott of national day commemorations at Waitangi.

That remains the case, despite English opening himself up to accusations that his refusal to front at the birthplace of the nation’s founding document, on the anniversary of its signing, amounts to both a serious dereliction of prime ministerial duty failure of leadership.

The new prime minister’s decision to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps, and stay away from Waitangi, is the right one not only for himself.

It is the right one for the National Party.

Of even more significance, it is more likely than not the right decision for the country.

The brutal truth is that while the Treaty’s influence has grown to the point where it is now cemented into New Zealand’s unwritten constitution, Waitangi Day is sinking under the weight of its conflicting roles.

Take Waitangi Day on tour?

While many people attending Waitangi Day celebrations think it is a great occasion much of the country sees it as a media circus giving a few Ngāpuhi activists some attention at the cost of political and national inclusiveness.

David Seymour has suggested a solution to the ongoing antics at Waitangi Day – move the celebrations around the country.

PM should take Waitangi Day ceremonies on tour

Te Tii Marae’s continued failure to respectfully host the Government on Waitangi Day should prompt the Prime Minister to visit a different marae each year, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The behaviour of a small group of perpetually-grumpy activists has turned Waitangi Day into an annual political circus, denying Kiwis a national day we can all enjoy,” says Mr Seymour.

“It’s never been clear why one iwi gets to monopolise the celebrations. The Treaty wasn’t just signed at Waitangi, it went on tour and was signed by chiefs all over the country.

“If an iwi is going to host representatives of the Crown to symbolise this 177-year-old relationship, why not rotate the host iwi and location? It could be in a different place each year, perhaps following the path that the Treaty took during 1840.

“Ngāpuhi activists have denied the whole country a proud national day a few times too many. Let’s take this show on the road. There were 20-odd signing locations so it’ll return to Te Tii Marae in around 2037.

“A bit of competition among locations might help to lift standards of behaviour, bringing some dignity and joy back to this special day.”

Today’s ODT editorial thinks that this has merit – from The importance of Waitangi Day:

Act New Zealand leader David Seymour suggested the continued failure by Ti Tii to respectfully host the Government on Waitangi Day should prompt the prime minister of the day to visit a different marae each year.

It has never been clear why one iwi – Ngapuhi – gets to monopolise the celebrations.

And that hasn’t been working out very well – it seems to have become more about them and less about the country.

The Treaty was not signed just at Waitangi; it went on tour and was signed by chiefs throughout the country. He suggests the celebration of the Treaty signing could follow the path the Treaty took in 1840.

Waitangi Day is quickly slipping from relevancy for many New Zealanders who are just looking forward to a day of holiday when, in fact, the Treaty is considered New Zealand’s founding document.

Those who attend the Waitangi Day events often say it is overall a very good occasion, if you ignore a few attention seekers and media obsessions and distractions.

But currently for me and I think for many others Waitangi Day is a contentious circus hijacked by a few activists.

If it was celebrated in different places more it may become a country focussed occasion rather than a local leer up.

Waitangi Day ‘cringe’

Bill English has not surprisingly provoked some comment when he rsaid “A lot of New Zealanders cringe a bit on Waitangi Day …”, but Waitangi Day ‘cringe’ comes from lack of understanding, Maori Party says

English has attracted controversy while defending his decision to skip Waitangi commemorations due to a lack of speaking rights, saying protests at Waitangi had been “nationally relevant” 15 to 20 years ago but were not anymore.

“Political discussion at Te Tii Marae is now really about Ngapuhi issues and their own concerns in Northland, but it’s a national day, a day for New Zealanders to be proud of their whole country.”

“A lot of New Zealanders cringe a bit on Waitangi Day when they see the way that the ceremonies are being conducted, the ceremonies and welcomes, the type of protest there has been in recent years, and I’m pretty keen that we have a day when they’re proud.”

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox…

…said English’s comments were “unfortunate” and did not match up with her perspective of the day’s importance.

“A lot of New Zealanders may feel that way, but that comes from a lack of understanding, a lack of education, and a lack of acceptance of the place of Maori in this country, so when that changes, we’ll all have a greater, united Aotearoa.”

Fox said she would have liked English to attend Waitangi commemorations, but his decision would not affect her plans to go.

“We are not the Maori arm of the National Party – we are going to attend as the Maori Party, and I will be taking my place in the powhiri, and I’m pretty sure nobody’s given me an opportunity to have a stage to speak, and I’m not concerned about that.”

Waitangi and Te Tii Marae were “surrounded in Maori protocol”, and it was up to marae leaders to decide whether someone could speak.

There are a number of protocols that I participate in at Parliament that I think are antiquated and should move on – those are my opinions. It is for Maori and the people of Te Tii, the people of Waitangi to decide how the programme should run – it’s their place.”

Fair enough, to an extent, about “Maori protocol” in a Maori forum, but if Waitangi Day is to ever become widely seen and felt to be a national day of significance then the commemorations need to involve and include both partners to the treaty, not just Maori.

Waitangi Day 2016

For what’s happening at Waitangi see 2016 Waitangi Day Celebrations.

There’s a lot of Waitangi Day related events around the country. You’ll have to check locally if you’re interested. There’s a few low key events planned for Dunedin.

NZ History has information on the past and present of Waitangi Day:

  1. Introduction

Waitangi Day is for whatever you want it to be. However you do it have a good one.

Plans for Waitangi Day

John Key doesn’t know what he will be doing on Waitangi Day. Newstalk ZB: Key’s Waitangi plans up in the air

John Key hasn’t decided what he will be doing on Waitangi day, now that he’s pulled out attending celebrations at Te Tii Marae.

The Prime Minister said he will be taking advice from his office about what to do on the day.

He said he’d like to go “somewhere where there is hopefully a festive atmosphere, where we can celebrate with other New Zealanders.

“I mean that’s what most other people will be doing on Waitangi day,” he said.

I doubt that’s what most New Zealanders do on Waitangi Day. Many will do what they would normally do on a Saturday. Some will be taking advantage of having a long weekend now public holidays are Mondayised.

Andrew Little will be at Te Tii Marae today but isn’t sure what he will be able to do. NZ Herald reports:

Mr Little said he could understand the frustration Mr Key felt about the changing rules, saying it would be difficult to speak on such a day without veering near politics.

The letter that set out the request not to discuss politics said the same rule would apply to other parties – a rule that was confirmed by marae trustee Emma Gibbs.

However, Mr Little said no such rule had been communicated to him. He would assess for himself what he could say after talking to the marae elders today.

Winston Peters was planning to be at Waitangi but I don’t know what sort of reception he will get after being highly critical of Ngāpuhi – see Wise words from Winston 0n Waitangi, and the Herald:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the Prime Minister’s non-attendance is highly regrettable for the north, for Ngapuhi, and for the country.

“I think Ngapuhi’s going to seriously regret the way it’s imaged itself, and its failure to make a stand on behalf of the protocols to the benefit of dialogue and discussion.”

“Really, when you are hosting a event for the nation in a specific place on the nation’s behalf, you’ve got to think bigger than yourselves.”

When hosting an annual national event, especially one that is the closest thing we have to being a national day, does have responsibilities to consider more than your own interests.

I don’t have to worry about that and can do whatever I want to. That will include my daily tasks here at Your NZ. I’ll also be interested in keeping an eye the cricket to see whether the Black Caps can back up their very good win over the Baggy Greens.

I also plan on attacking a pile of macrocarpa that needs to be cut to firewood and chipped.  I guess I’ll watch a bit of news too but that may depend on how interesting the cricket is.

What will you be doing on Waitangi Day?


A different side to Waitangi

I’ve been to Waitangi but never during Waitangi Day celebrations. Much of the media (and therefore national) attention is on a relatively small but vocal number of protesters and activists.

But I’ve heard reports over the years of a much better Waitangi event, one that unfortunately gets less attention.

Yesterday Pickled Possum commented:

Obviously you and some on this site have never been on a marae when there is a take/issue/topic of importance to the people in te Ao Maori laid down.

Maori treat their visitors with politeness generosity and kindness when you pass the marae atea, you are a welcomed special visitor.

I have been on marae in Northland and have experienced politeness, generosity, and kindness.

There is passion in debate but haranguing a welcomed guest I don’t think so. Waitangi day celebration is held at up North because that’s where the British wanted it signed.

How many of you have been to a Waitangi celebration, and have seen the celebration of Te Ao Maori there. There is a aura of peacefulness while celebrating song, art and crafts, food, healing, massage, medicine, dance, the language and of all things Maori.

The reason some NZ media are not allowed onto the Te Tii marae is because they write their own negative slant of what is the haps, like they do on anything/everything/most things.

That has become as big a part of the problems as the protesters they give oxygen to.

They are welcomed at Waitangi grounds to report on all the positiveness that takes place but there’s nothing shocking to report about hangi being the food of gods up here or how ta moko has significant meaning to the person who has it tattooed on their face chin body.

Maori TV is the only media that shows Waitangi in any real sense in NZ, but how many of you have even tuned into that channel?
Not many if any I would hazard a guess.

I watch Maori TV sometimes, they have some good content.

Waitang Day has always been the place for Maori from all around the motu to have their grievances heard, it is their right to be heard, it is supposed to be their safe place to be heard.

That it is a time and place to air grievances is part of the tradition of Waitangi, for better and worse.

Like your waislangy word pete inciting negative connotations is just the start.
In 2 days time people will be saying far worse things and they would all have been started by some stupid words like that, incited by ignorance to the meaning of Waitangi day.

Point taken, but I was airing a grievance that many people around New Zealand really feel over annual Waitangi protests.

And why target me when there are far more inciteful things being said by some Maori?

All forgotten on the 8th of Feb till next year.

People who have no knowledge, respect or love of things Maori should slow right down with all the negative rhetoric and blatant incitement of more disharmony between all NZers.

So where does this incitement begin each year?

Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson said at the signing of the treaty,
He iwi tahi tatou’ (We are [now] one people).

Tihei mauri ora – Let there be life!
Tihei mauri ora – Let there be life!
Ngä iwi o te motu e – To all the tribes of the land
Tü ake, karangatia – Stand forth and be welcomed
Tü ake, manaakitia – Stand forth and be hosted
Ngä iwi, kia ora rä – To all the tribes, greetings to you

It would be great if that was a focal point of Waitangi. But some Maori in Northland have not been in a welcoming mood, again.

On Tuesday, Northland iwi leaders met to discuss whether Mr Key would be blocked from the marae because of his handling of the TPP, which some Maori leaders have proposed.

A vote called for at the meeting meant leaders voting 38-14 in favour of stopping him from attending.

ODT – The road to Waitangi

That doesn’t sound welcoming.

There are problems from both sides of the Waitangi divide. Perhaps the tradition of airing grievances will always make Waitangi Day an expression of many emotions of ‘one people’.

Past Waitangi Day protests

A relatively small number of people get the biggest attention at Waitangi Day each year, working the media, overshadowing much of the events that are enjoyed by many, and riling much of the public.

This year TPPA protests are getting the attention, but every year political and social activists pick on whatever seems to be the protest of the time.

Protest is an annual event as much as celebrating the Treaty of Waitangi.

Here are some of the protests:

  • 2016 – anti-TPPA

The annual Waitangi Day hikoi hit Kaitaia yesterday with the message that protesters do not want the Government to sign the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Meanwhile, a 200-strong hikoi protesting plans by Norwegian firm Statoil to explore for oil off Northland’s west coast arrived at Waitangi shortly after Mr Key’s welcome, waving flags, singing waiata and chanting, “Statoil go home”.

Among the first politicians to arrive at Te Tii Marae this morning was Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei. Mrs Turei was with the hikoi of about 70 protesters opposed to deep sea oil drilling and mining.

The Mana Party “Feed the Kids Bill” flag at the Anti-violence hikoi, Waitangi.

This was not the usual Waitangi hikoi focusing solely on Maori sovereignty. As had happened the day before when Prime Minister John Key was confronted at Te Tii Marae, yesterday’s protest focused on a raft of issues; to the fore, asset sales and the perceived breach of Waitangi Treaty obligations.

The Prime Minister’s visit yesterday was cut short as a handful of anti-mining protesters led by Wi Popata, who was convicted of assaulting Mr Key in 2009 with his brother John, drowned out speeches.

(Hone Harawira) supported the protesters’ rights to have their say, and said those in the public eye learned to deal with taunts, he said.

“Well, 30, 40 years ago we were doing the same thing from exactly the same place. It’s not like these people are doing anything new … It’s how they feel.

So to some Waitangi Day has a tradition expressing how they feel, which is being anti-something.

Prime Minister John Key will use his Waitangi Day address this morning to tackle extremists on both sides of the race relations divide, saying they cynically damage the goodwill needed to put an end to grievance in New Zealand.


Mr Harawira took the chance to take a swipe at Mr Key for criticising his views on colonisation and his description of colonialists as “white motherf***ers”.

Not all have been angry and anti:

Organisers of a hikoi at Waitangi say their march is about letting Maori know their rights.

Up to 100 people marched peacefully to the flagpole on the upper marae on Friday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the hikoi organisers says Maori need to know the 21-gun salute acknowledges the sovereignty of the United Kingdom over the Maori nation.

She says people need to stop being wooed by the words of politicians and start being true to themselves.

The spokeswoman says they were not there to cause trouble and simply wanted to spread the message of peace and love. She says it’s not in human nature to be killing and fighting each other.

So not all Waitangi Day protests are the same.

With the signing of the TPPA scheduled two days before Waitangi Day this year it gave the protest movement something topical and contentious to focus on.

Should Key stay away?

Should our Prime Minister go to an event at Waitangi where he is expected to remain silent in the face of expected criticism and abuse?

The local hapu want him to attend Te Tii but some from the far North want him excluded and others want him to attend a free shot.

Tracy Watkins asks Is it time for John Key to turn his back on Waitangi?

Everyone will remember that it was Titewhai Harawira who reduced Clark to tears at Te Tii marae in 1998 after refusing to accord her speaking rights.

Clark referred to that incident after becoming prime minister, noting that her tears were “not for myself but for the ruination, yet again, of an event which has so much potential for healing, reconciliation, and taking matters forward in a setting so historic and so beautiful”.

That’s sad. Very sad. And the ruination continues.

Things now appear to have come full circle with Key being told his attendance at Te Tii this year will be conditional on his silence.

There’s zero chance of Key buckling to that demand given the verbal abuse that is likely to be heaped on him and his government over New Zealand’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Would Maori leaders put up with the same bickering and silencing in the face of abuse if they were visiting another marae?

I think Key will have widespread support from around the rest of the country if he respectfully tells Waitangi to get stuffed.


It’s sad to see how much Waitangi Day has become an excuse to have a political slanging match. Any celebratory aspects of an important commemoration are overshadowed by attention seekers being given attention by media.

No wonder much of the country ignores or derides the activist antics in the far north.

There’s ongoing controversy about whether Prime Minister John Key will attend this year.

Ludicrously, with claims that the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement was undemocratic and denied consultation, some are suggesting that Key be allowed to attend as long as he doesn’t speak.

So he is supposed to front up and remain silent in front of a haranguing?

This year the TPPA is receiving most of the focus and criticism, but if we weren’t having the signing this week the annual activist uprising would have something else to moan about.

To many people Waitangi Day is being taken over by opportunist activists, most of whom are from one small part of the country.

Just now on Breakfast:

“Let’s not lose sight of why protesters are upset. They are using Waitangi as a ground to protest the TPPA” MP Kris Faafoi

But protesters are ‘upset’ every year. They are perpetually upset. The TPPA just happens to be this year’s excuse to protest against the government of the day.

Many other centres have far more respectful commemorations of Waitangi Day but because they are uneventful they get little coverage.

So most of the country abhor or ignore what should be an important day for us, I suspect many Maori included.

There are still valid concerns about Treaty issues – from both Maori and non-Maori. And there are valid concerns about social problems in New Zealand.

But it’s a real shame that the closest thing we have to a national day is dominated by a small minority bickering, grandstanding and continuing with their perpetual whining.

Like any country we have unresolved differences and problems.

But surely we also have much we could be celebrating, together. This looks unlikely to happen with what has become Waislangy Day.

Waitangi could lead celebrations of what a relatively great country New Zealand has become, and there’s some attempt to do that, but the day and week are hijacked by harassing hordes.

Key, TPPA, riots, Waitangi and civil war

Rhetoric about John Key, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreeement, and the Treaty of Waitangi and Waitangi Day is rising to absurd levels.

Are some left wing activists seriously trying to talk up riots, civil wart the revolution? Or is it just nutters going nuttier than usual?

It’s not unusual to see Martyn Bradbury going over the top.

Dear NZ Police – about the TPPA 4th February protest

Dear NZ Police.

You suffer as much as we all do from this Government’s lack of social funding. You pick up the failures of our mental health system, education system, social welfare system, prison system and alcohol culture.

You do it all with ever decreasing budgets.

The TPPA will act as an upper house of our Parliament and with the growth of corporate monsters like SERCO, it’s only a matter of time before their failed social experiments get forced upon us here citing the TPPA as their entrance point, and you as a Police force will be left to clean up the ever expanding societal meltdowns.

So if your commanders give you the order to attack on 4th February remember two things.

One, you are as impacted as the rest of us by signing this TPPA.

and Two, the world will be watching.

Which side are you on boys?

It’s a bit alarming to see Chris Trotter getting involved (although this is also at The Daily Blog):

Let’s Not Lose Our Tempers: If Key wants a riot outside Sky City – don’t give him one

I’m suspicious. Because John Key is not prone to making tactical blunders. Which raises the worrying possibility that the readily predictable consequences of his decision – mass protest action outside Sky City, with a high probability of violence and property damage – may be exactly what he wants to happen.

And then there’s more extremes like this from :

John Key Wants War Between Maori And Pakeha. Are You Going To Let Him?

On the 4th of February 2016 two days before Waitangi day. John Key intends to sign the TPPA. The treaty will allow international corporations to usurp most of New Zealand’s sovereignty. It will deregulate the financial industry, allow corporations to sue our government for loss of profit if we don’t let them run rough shod over what is left of our fragile ecological systems and destroy what is left of our social support systems.

It will also destroy one of the most important social documents and contracts of this country: the Treaty of Waitangi.

And John Key knows this. The ruling elite knows this and they like the idea! What is more, most Pakeha who identify with the ruling elite rather than face reality and realise they are part of the 99%, like that idea too!

And it’s an easy fault line for the 1% to aggravate the 99% into an all out civil war between Maori and Pakeha and here is what is being done to make sure they get what they want.

  • The signing of the TPPA in Auckland two days before Waitangi dayguaranteed to incite a heated emotional response.
  • John Key intending to attend the Commemorations at Waitangi Marae which is the mother of all shit stirring exercises.
  • Opinion Pieces in major news papers inciting racial division and Mike Hosking pandering to the basest of prejudices as ususal!
  • Releasing information about riot police being trained to deal with political unrest to inflame emotions.
  • People inciting violence in comments on political blogs to make sure the people who own those blogs can be arrested or made redundant as part of the aggressive political fringe loonies when they try to inform people.
  • Putting up the rag touted as the new flag to inflame emotions.

And here is what is traditionally done to make sure unrest will arise even if the people keep their cool:

So if anything gets stirred up it’s going to be all John Key’s fault along with a compliant police force.

It would be frightening to see this sort of thing openly posted and promoted if any of these loons could be taken seriously.

This NZ Herald report has fed the fanatics.

TPP: Police undertake riot training

New Zealand Police have been undertaking mass riot training ahead of the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Auckland next month.

The trade agreement, that has sparked widespread controversy due to its closed-door negotiations, will be signed by international diplomats on February 4.

Dozens of large-scale protests have been held across the country as the five years of negotiations for the deal came to a close in the US last year.

The Herald understands that increased riot training – officially known as public order training – has been taking place ahead of the signing, as police prepare for more possible civil unrest.

Police Association vice-president Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt said that the TPP signing was the focus of annual public order training.

The Herald understands that the training goes over and above previous annual training, and involved more staff on a “mass” scale.

Bryan Bruce at it too:

Is Divide And Conquer The New TPPA Strategy?

Almost seems like they are trying to talk up some sort of Springbok Tour uprising.