Threats of riots and protests at Waitangi Day celebrations kept the Prime Minister away this year and the next anniversary is shaping up to be another battle.
Concerns over his safety and a “gagging order” preventing Key from speaking at Te Tii Marae meant he didn’t show up at Waitangi for the first time ever.
Ngapuhi elders and trustees in charge of organising the Waitangi Day celebrations met on Friday to discuss whether they would move all the events to the upper marae and drop the controversial Te Tii marae from the schedule in February.
However many of the “protagonists” didn’t show at the meeting so another one has been organised for the end of the month where it’s expected a vote will take place.
Key said on Monday that he was aware of meetings going on and Ngapuhi have “asked us for an indication at some point whether we intend to return to Waitangi – we haven’t made that call yet”.
“At some point we’ll engage with them but it’s just a little bit too early at this stage.” Read more »
Alan Duff gets stuck into Ngapuhi:
I’ve also previously written that even if we had a Prime Minister I personally detested, I’d still give him or her the respect the office demands.
Not deserves, as sometimes we’ll have a PM who doesn’t earn that. It is our highest political office. (Putting aside the Governor-General, an office I don’t necessarily care for. Too old-fashioned, too many British Empire trappings and traditions, increasingly irrelevant in this modern age. Time for radical changes.)
Now, if Maori at Waitangi promise our Prime Minister a hostile welcome, why should he go? It’s mass bullying, at its worst. Let’s put the boot on the other foot and Parliament promises a hostile welcome to a Ngapuhi delegation wanting to visit.
There would be an uproar. And rightly so.
Shane Jones enters the vexed Waitangi debate.
Former Labour MP Shane Jones has thrown his weight behind calls to shift Waitangi celebrations involving the Crown, away from Ti Tii Marae.
The national day and lead-up was marred by in-fighting among trustees of the lower marae. Drawn-out confusion over whether Prime Minister John Key was even invited, and a gagging order placed on him by some trustees led to his withdrawal from Waitangi celebrations at the weekend.
He promised to return next year, if his normal speaking rights were reinstated.
David Seymour thinks Waitangi celebrations should move around the country rather than constantly be based at Waitangi.
But first a bit of history.
Like almost all Kiwis I have always avoided Waitangi on the big day. Images of protesters, crying prime ministers, and actual mud-slinging are enough to put most people off. If you’ve ever been in Sydney for Australia Day, you’ll know how much better our national day could be.
But Parliament obliges me to be here, so I’m writing this from an old Paihia motel (my parliamentary colleagues had booked out the Waitangi Copthorne, but that’s another story).
The trouble this time is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPPA. People oppose it for the same reason people used to have mullets – fashion, not logic. Being of Ngāpuhi descent myself, it’s been a real struggle to understand why local Maori are protesting a trade agreement.
The fact is, many colonial-era Maori were very entrepreneurial, and took ready advantage of the more secure property rights provided by the Treaty – more secure than being invaded by nearby tribes as happened through the musket war period around 1820 to 1840. One of the many important rights the Treaty gave was access to sea lanes protected by the most powerful navy on the planet.
I’ve been reading Hazel Petrie’s Chiefs of Industry. It tells the story of colonial-era Maori such as Te Hemara Tauhia. In the 1850s he built a sawmill in the north and charged Pakeha to mill their timber.
Then he realised they were making money off the shipping so he commissioned a 20-tonne ship to move it, too. That guy would have favoured signing the TPPA.
He was not unusual. As another author summed up, colonial Maori “were able to leverage European technologies to build remarkable trading relationships around the world as well as forcing the world’s most powerful empire into a stalemate.”
Andrew Little is so desperate for attention he will do almost anything to get it.
While Prime Minister John Key was busy dodging protests on Waitangi Day, Labour leader Andrew Little was having his foot gently bathed up at Waitangi.
Shirleyanne Brown, of Ngati Hau health and social services, was doing the honours, joking it was “just like the biblical times”.
Had Key been up in Waitangi it may well have been like biblical times as well, but it would be more of the fire and brimstone Old Testament.
Such are the delights and carefree life as the Opposition leader. Even the security detail usually assigned to the Leader of the Opposition for Waitangi left him after the Dawn Service, free to roam at will. Little was on safe ground – his party was opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and he had not yet had the time or power to do anything to peeve Maori.
“It’s appalling because that image has gone around the world and there are now people in countries all over the world saying the way New Zealanders theoretically commemorate or celebrate their national day is with a senior politician having a sex toy thrown at them.” He added that the protest was “crude and basic” on what should be a family occasion.
“The image that has now gone worldwide — it’s been one of the lead stories on the BBC, it’s been huge media coverage around the world — that’s the way now that people from overseas are viewing how we have a celebration on our national day. It just isn’t the right image for New Zealand.” Read more »
Tracy Watkins agrees with John Key.
John Key launched National’s third term in office with a plan to craft his legacy by changing the flag. Would a more lasting legacy be gifting us a national day free of acrimony that everyone can celebrate?
After a week of will-he won’t-he politics, Key’s decision to turn his back on Te Tii marae will probably come as a relief to Kiwis who have spent much of the last week rolling their eyes at the usual threats of protest and conflict that accompany our only national day each year.
The Prime Minister’s description of the to-ing and fro-ing over whether he should be welcomed onto the marae as “mickey mouse” was as on the money as it was overdue. The row has exposed the same egos, tribal divisions and personality clashes that have marred Waitangi Day for years.
John Key is no longer mincing words regarding Waitangi and he isn ‘t going there either.
Prime Minister John Key says the organisation at Te Tii Marae is “Mickey Mouse” and he won’t go there tomorrow if he is under a new gagging order.
He has now been told he could not discuss politics in the whare and that the best place to talks about political issues would be in Hone Harawira’s tent.
“I am not going there with a gagging order and I am not going there if I can’t speak on the marae,” he told reporters after todays’ TPP signing.
“It’s a little bit frustrating because it’s all Mickey Mouse if you ask me, but the Mickey Mouse-ness of it is sitting on their side, I’m sorry.”
Mr Key said the new conditions arrived in a letter to his office last night. Read more »
There is no win for John Key by going now. He’s got a free pass and can make the best of it. If he attends and nothing goes wrong but they don’t let him speak, he runs the risk of looking stupid.
If he does go and Maori show disrespect to New Zealand’s most popular Prime Minister he could score a massive win with the rest of New Zealand. Don Brash went up in the polls after Maori ratbags plastered him with mud.
Either way it seems Ngapuhi couldn’t organise a root in a brothel.
Te Tii Marae elders say there is a risk of deliberate attempts by protesters to block the Prime Minister John Key going on to the marae on Friday and there was little they could do to stop it.
Trustee Emma Gibbs also warned Mr Key not to inflame the protesters with a highly political speech or “really it is coercing them into more blimmin’ riot”. The Prime Minister said today he would travel to Te Tii after being invited onto the marae with the usual speaking rights. However, he warned that he would not go on if the expected anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) protests were so large he could not physically get to the marae gates or if police advised they were not confident they could control the situation.
He said it was not a warning to the protesters, but he was worried about endangering others with him. He was not concerned about his own physical safety because he had a high level of protection from police and his Diplomatic Protection Squad bodyguard. Read more »
Old scribble face, Kingi Taurua, the custodian and cleaner of Te Tii marae, has managed to convince Ngapuhi to uninvite John Key.
Duncan Garner comments on their idiocy.
Ngāpuhi are nuts to block the prime minister from official ceremonies at Te Tii Marae, in Waitangi, on Friday.
It’s short-sighted and immature. The vote was 30-15 in favour of blocking the PM. Now another group of Māori, the Marae trustees, want to override that decision.
The prime minister now wins this debate hands-down.
What does Ngāpuhi achieve by blocking the PM? The total sum of nothing. Zilch. Zero.
Key should go and celebrate the day with the rest of the country and turn his back on these people, for good. He should never return. This is their loss. It’s pathetic.
They are simply hot-heads, who will now sit in a small circle and talk to themselves. Very few people will listen and fewer people will care.
They have lost a golden opportunity. Now, no doubt, despite blocking him, they will still chase the PM down the road to make a fuss about him even coming north at all.
One word: idiots.