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Harawira may protest at Waitangi

Monday 4 Feb 2013 8:35 a.m.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira (file)

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira (file)

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is not ruling out protesting when Prime Minister John Key arrives at Waitangi, saying it's one of a number of opportunities Maori have on the day to get their views across.

Mr Harawira's family are local to the area and his mother, veteran Maori activist Titewhai Harawira, and nephews Wi and John Popata, have regularly been part of the drama at Te Tii Marae in recent years.

Ms Harawira has for years been responsible for leading guests on to Te Tii, a role she developed herself.

But the marae's trustees say it is time another kuia has a turn during Tuesday's ceremony.

"These kuia have been working in the marae, cooking food, washing toilets, and all those kind of jobs, so they need to be rewarded," Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua told TVNZ's Breakfast on Monday.

He added it was likely a different kuia would be chosen each year in future.

Mr Harawira would not comment on the scrap but hinted that Mr Key will again be greeted by protests this year, despite a "silly" attempt by Te Tii's board to ban protesters.

"Should I choose, I will voice my protest at what I see to be the Crown's continued denial of the status of the Treaty, and I would expect support from the tangata whenua for that stand," he told NZ Newswire.

Mr Harawira says the Maori Council's water rights claim, which is currently before the Supreme Court and affects the Government's asset sales programme, is "probably the biggest protest going on in Maoridom at the moment".

"There is much to protest about and little to celebrate," he said.

Mr Key has kept tight security at Waitangi after being shoved around by Mr Harawira's nephews Wi and John Popata in 2009, while in 2012, protests over deep sea oil drilling meant he was unable to speak on the marae.

NZN

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