Shane Jones likes the idea of taking Te Tii out of Waitangi Day

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.

I think it is time to sideline Te Tii.

But Waitangi Festival organiser and NZ First MP Pita Paraone has suggested a solution might be the future powhiri of the Crown to the treaty grounds, be shifted to the upper marae.

Northland-based Jones, now New Zealand’s economic development ambassador to the Pacific, said he supported the calls.

“Unfortunately all Tai Tokerau (Northland) tribes are tainted by the Te Tii Marae circus. Their decision that the PM could go on the Marae but not talk makes a mockery of Marae culture.

“What were they thinking, that the leader of the nation would stand and hum Pokarekare ana?” said Jones.

He said the confusion reflected badly on all Northland iwi.

“Historically speaking the actual Te Tii Marae was opened in 1880. The sentiment of the time was a Marae for the unity of Maori and Pakeha. Not much evidence of any unity [now].

So it didn’t even exist in 1840. Time to give them the flick.

He said a vote over whether trustees would extend an invitation to the Prime Minister this year was “farcical”.

“Such hui and decisions showed that Marae cannot cope and an alternative venue should be used to prevent Waitangi looking like wairangi (delusional).”

Paraone, who is Waitangi National Trust chairman, confirmed he had heard a number of calls to shift the occasion away from Ti Tii.

“I was approached by a number of people, who obviously view the marae on the treaty grounds as an option.

“my response was that’s fine, but I think there needs to be some discussion before we start making a decision like that in concrete,” Paraone said.

Talking is over. These muppets have made a farce of decades of Waitangi celebrations.



– Fairfax