David Rankin calls for Waitangi take back

By Lindy Laird

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The outspoken leader of Ngapuhi's Matarahurahu hapu, David Rankin, says Waitangi Day has become too colonised and should be reclaimed by Maori.

"Its meaning has been sterilised. It should be called Picnic Day rather than Waitangi Day," said Mr Rankin, whose ancestors include chief Hone Heke, the first Maori to sign the Treaty.

Mr Rankin said the Government has taken away the true cultural significance of Waitangi Day and the Crown dominates proceedings. "The whole day is loaded with symbols of colonisation, especially the naval presence - representing the same navy which in 1845 massacred our people in the Bay of Islands.

"Maori need to regain full control of Waitangi Day. It should be run by Maori, for Maori, and if Pakeha want to be involved, they will be able to, but only on our terms. After 173 years of colonisation, it's time to turn the tables."

Mr Rankin described Hone Harawira, who he calls "John Hadfield", as having being reduced to the status of "shoe-shine boy" while the Prime Minister John Key "looks as comfortable as a vegan at a barbecue" at Te Tii Marae on Waitangi Day.

"This is where the performances of both men reveal the extent to which the day has become a matter of performing for the Crown," he said.

The "shoe-shine boy" reference alluded to Mr Harawira's willingness to play the role of a "welcoming native, though he talks about mana motuhake," Mr Rankin said.

Mr Rankin said he stands by his comments that the Treaty had little to do with Pakeha New Zealanders.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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