It’s always about the money

Hone Harawira is complaining that Te Tii Marae was shunned in the decision to host the 2018 Waitangi day celebrations.

Commemorations, including the PM’s speech, will take place on the porch of Kelvin Davis’ marae, Te Whare Runanga.

Harawira is not happy about it as Te Tii Marae for many years has traditionally hosted the event.

“It’s disappointing the Prime Minister’s not going to Te Tii and I hope that in the very near future that rights itself and she’s able to go back there,” he says.

Over the years, the day has been marred by ugly scenes, including mud hurled at Don Brash and, of course, a sex toy tossed at Steven Joyce. However Mr Harawira says activism is an important part of remembering the signing of the treaty, and subsequent treaty breaches.

“Waitangi Day is a day of remembrance, a day of commemoration and that also involves people having their say about what they think has happened to us over the past 180-odd years,” he says.

Is Hone telling us it’s okay for us to visit Te Tii Marae and throw things at local Iwi? Or is he saying activists are justified in throwing things at visitors to the marae?  The latter I’m sure.

There’s something seriously wrong with thinking violent activism is an important part of remembering the Treaty.

Harawira’s twisted logic is also evident when he goes on to say:

“It’s important that protest continues to happen, it’s important that the Government responds to that protest in the most positive way.”

Yep, you can have a positive response: you positively will be hauled into court to face charges of physical abuse for the kind of violent protest we have previously endured at Waitangi.

Activists like Hone Harawira and the Maori Sovereignty movement are pursuing an agenda of “co-equal” status with the Crown, an important distinction which attempts to change Maori rights expressed in the Treaty from “equal” to  “co-equal” status.  This variation is undemocratic, divisive and well outside the scope of the Treaty, and yet they persist.

The change in venue explains why Ardern was confident that spending five days of her life that she will never get back attending Waitangi celebrations would not result in her being pelted with anything untoward.

Of course, this is not the only reason for the shift in venue.  Te Tii marae wanted to charge media $10,000 for broadcasting rights.

Far be it from me to determine which reason was uppermost but it is no surprise that greed played an important part in the decision.  When it comes to the Treaty it is always about the money.


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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

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