Harawira resolute as Waitangi escort
Sun, 03 Feb 2013 6:10p.m.
By Jenny Suo
It's not unusual for there to be a bit of conflict at Waitangi Day celebrations, but things have started early this year, with a stoush over who will escort the Prime Minister onto the grounds.
Titewhai Harawira's appointed herself to the role for years. But Ngapuhi elders say it's time for a change.
John Key was welcomed onto a new ferry terminal in west Auckland today, and he can only hope that his welcome onto the lower marae in Waitangi on Tuesday will run just as smoothly.
A spat between elders is brewing in the far north over who should escort him onto the marae as Ngapuhi trustees move to sideline self-appointed escort Ms Harawira.
“They have decided that one of the kuia other than Titewhai Harawira will do that,” says Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua. “They have decided. They have made that decision and that decision is final as far as I know.”
Ms Harawira, who is the mother of Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, is also a long-time activist.
In 1998, she reduced Prime Minister Helen Clark to tears after refusing to let her speak in the marae.
Mr Taurua says trustees have this year appointed elder Ani Taurua, but she has expressed concerns about angering Ms Harawira.
“I think she's a bully,” says Mr Taurua. “She’s a bully for thinking her way is the right way and she’s not going to give in to anybody.”
And she appeared to do just that when she spoke to Maori TV's Te Kaea.
“I'm not interested in what Kingi has to say,” she says. “I'm not going to lower my mana to comment on what Kingi has to say.”
It's also possible that both women will escort the Prime Minister. Mr Key say's he'd rather not get involved.
“In the end it’s up them,” he says. “I don’t try and engage myself in Maori politics and protocol. I have enough issues to worry about myself. Whoever they decide will be alright with me.”
But Mr Key says he wouldn't be surprised if there is a stoush come Tuesday – drama at Waitangi is something he's had to get used to.
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16/02/2013 12:12:45 a.m.
Nice to see Hone's family doing their royal duties, the commenter's below should go face to face with the Harawira's family and repeat their comments, you guys are just lucky to be here in the Aotearoa Country. Waitangi Day is very special in this country that are respected by lots of people from this world except the idiots that does'nt understand what it means.
Bless the Harawira family.
5/02/2013 2:53:42 p.m.
It would be nice to see one of the maori ladies who have bee working hard in the back ground for many years get a chance at leading the prime minister onto the marae,it would be a bit of recognition for their loyalty.what have the Harawira family done for Waitangi day except cause trouble.
4/02/2013 2:49:47 p.m.
What an embarrassment. She still doesnt seem to get it that most people just dont want her there doing this. About all it has done is convince me Waitangi Day is a bit of a joke, certainly not something to be celebrated with pride.
4/02/2013 2:20:30 p.m.
Kathy, whats racist, the treaty has little to no meaning to non-Maori for the obvious fact, it doesnt protect our rights. We cannot use it in a court of law. Therefor its just a begrudgingly given holiday of work for 5 days out of 7 years. Article 9 of the SOE act forbids any third party rights, so their for the treaty can never include non Maori. Its just a agreement between a Maori in a now all but token sovereign entity that only validates government laws. Its not our history.
4/02/2013 10:23:30 a.m.
Xeno Fobe wrote:
Even as a white folk I find Key's dismissive and condescending comments about Maori politics and protocol offensive. As a leader of a country he should show far more interest and be embracing of all ethnicity and culture and their various concerns... and far more leadership.
4/02/2013 9:39:54 a.m.
This family continues to damage the outside perception of Maori and their culture. Get rid of them and all Maori work together for the benefit of all Maori and rectify the wrongs that these militant racist minority has caused. We do not need the Harawira's of the world. There are many great leaders to lead Maori and have Maori interest at heart.
4/02/2013 8:26:57 a.m.
Isnt it sad to see the normal racist posters and their nasty comments.
We live in the 21st century, but people like Atrout still live in the dark ages.
Instead of being part of the problem Atrout and Shane, embrace the coutries history.
You dont just drop historically significant days because they are too brown for you.
Days like Waitangi day will always be remembered with passion, both positive and negative.
3/02/2013 8:05:19 p.m.
The average NZer has come to greet most news from the Maori side of things with a groan and a muttered "Not another bloody silly thing". So sad really for everyone. This isn't about mana or dignity or good causes- it is about greed, corrupted power and other wastes of time and human energy.
3/02/2013 7:05:36 p.m.
Forget it, the entire day is a joke, drop Waitangi Day and replace it with a day where New Zealanders can actually celebrate being New Zealanders. Replace it with a day that matters.
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