Waitangi: Ngapuhi elders have given in to Titewhai Harawira


Ngapuhi elders have given in to Titewhai Harawira who has refused to move aside from escorting John Key to the Te Tii Marai at Waitangi today.

The stoush over who will accompany the Prime Minister to the marae has taken centre stage after Mrs Harawira was asked to give another Kuia a chance to carry out the duty.

She flatly refused.

Marae spokesman Kingi Taurua said Mrs Harawira was determined to defy their request and they didn't want to cause a scene, Newstalk ZB reported.

"We're disappointed, really the issue is here, we just cannot do anything about it. Nothing we can do about it.

"If we do jump up and down then it will be another problem on the marae on Waitangi so I said, 'Just let it go, just leave it'."

Mr Key will be at Waitangi, along with five of his ministers.

Labour leader David Shearer is also attending, accompanied by more than two dozen of his colleagues.

Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples will be at the Treaty grounds, as will be New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and three of his MPs.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei and three Green MPs are going, and Mana leader Hone Harawira will be in his Ngapuhi heartland.

The only two party leaders not attending are United Future's Peter Dunne and ACT's John Banks.

As for the issue of who will lead people on to the lower marae this morning, Labour leader David Shearer said it wasn't up to him and that wasn't his priority.

"That's really a consideration of the kaumatua in the marae up there.

"She took me on last year, I'm happy to be led by them."

The Maori Council was staying out of any disputes between Ngapuhi and Titewhai Harawira.

Council co-chair Maanu Paul said it wasn't their place to go wading into the debate.

"That is a convention that the local tribe has established, and it's up to them to determine how it should be done."

Newstalk ZB lb

- Northern Advocate

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