Titewhai Harawira welcomes officials onto marae
Titewhai Harawira escorts philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn onto the marae (Photo: Kim Choe/3 News)
By 3 News online staff
Titewhai Harawira has been welcoming dignitaries onto Te Tii Marae ahead of the Prime Minister's arrival this morning.
There is still no sign of Ani Taurua - the elder Ngapuhi trustees wanted to replace Ms Harawira with for the marae welcome.
Ms Harawira, aided by crutches, escorted philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn onto the marae just before 9am this morning.
John Key and five of his ministers are expected to arrive at around 10am, followed by Labour leader David Shearer and a large contingent of his MPs.
Ngapuhi trustees had earlier said Ms Harawira should relinquish her role of escorting Mr Key and the other officials onto the marae in favour of another elder, Mr Taurua.
Yesterday Ms Harawira welcomed Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae on to the marae, but they were interrupted by Ms Harawira’s son Aata, who had a brief scuffle with the welcoming party.
Mr Key hopes today will be trouble-free and a time of celebration.
"I think the local kaumatua are doing their best to try and make sure there's an opportunity for us to engage and say a few words,” he told NZ Newswire.
"I hope that's the case. In the end Waitangi should be a place for celebration."
But Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says he believes Mr Key will face protest from some Ngapuhi Iwi members, and he hasn't quashed speculation he may protest himself.
“This is the place where those things get raised,” he said yesterday.
“A local trustee has the right to raise them. And as the local MP, so do I.”