Waitangi Past: How our PMs have been treated at Waitangi

Then-PM Helen Clark is jostled as she leaves the lower Waitangi marae on Waitangi

Labour PM Helen Clark refused to go back to Te Tii Marae in 2000 after being treated with disrespect by the protestors.

Four years later National MP Don Brash was assaulted by a protestor at Waitangi.

A history of conflict at Waitangi – then National leader Don Brash is targeted by protesters in 2004.

In 2009 PM John Key was manhandled by protestors.

John Key is jostled at Waitangi (Source: ONE News)

In 2012, during another visit by PM John Key, a cameraman was bloodied by protestors.

2012 During a visit to Waitangi from PM John Key Fairfax NZ photographer Lawrence Smith got a head wound after he had his camera pushed into his face during a scuffle.

Last year PM Bill English avoided trouble at Te Tii Marae by commemorating the day at Ngati Whatua Orakei Marae in Auckland instead.

Prime Minister Bill English being welcomed onto Ngati Whatua Orakei Marae in Auckland. Photo: Chris McKeen/Fairfax NZ

This year Labour PM Jacinda Ardern, unlike former PM Helen Clark, was given the right to speak on the marae.

[…] Ardern was the first female prime minister to be given the right to speak at the Northland marae after prolonged discussions. Usually only men are able to speak in powhiri.

Ardern makes history at Waitangi marae
Otago Daily Times

It was a peaceful powhiri, watched by about 150 locals and tourists.

Ardern was welcomed on to the upper marae on the Treaty grounds mid-morning after already spending three days in Northland.

[…] “I do not take lightly the privilege extended to me to speak … today, not only as a Prime Minister but as a wahine.”

Ardern was thanking them for finally treating a wahine PM as an equal. I don’t blame Helen Clark for telling them to get stuffed. When you are the PM of a country no culture, no matter what their backward traditions are, should be allowed to discriminate against you on the basis of your sex or race.

In 1998, former Labour leader Helen Clark was pushed to tears after there were objections to allowing her to speak on Te Tii Marae.

One of those objecting was Titewhai Harawira, whose lace-gloved hand can be seen holding Ardern’s hand in the above photo.

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