Prime Minister arrives at Waitangi's Te Tii Marae

By APNZ

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Prime Minister John Key
Prime Minister John Key

The Prime Minister has arrived at Waitangi's Te Tii Marae flanked by security guards and accompanied by Titewhai Harawira.

Mr was supposed to have been welcomed on to the marae at 10am but was delayed more than 90 minutes by a group calling for his sacking.

The fireworks promised by protesters opposed to deep sea mining have been surprisingly absent from the powhiri, with many holding signs that are more environmentally focused than demanding the Crown honours the Treaty.

The marae, which is packed with media, has been calm this morning with good-natured speeches.

Government ministers including Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce were forced to wait outside the marae shoulder to shoulder with the protesters but with little apparent ill-feeling until the hikoi was taken on to the marae by Titewhai Harawira.

At the head of the hikoi when it arrived at the marae entrance, the Mana Party's Annette Sykes fired a salvo at Maori judges and lawyers, who she said were "given elite status" while poor and dispossessed Maori were "left outside".

Inequality in the Maori world was now a "fundamental issue", she said.

Among the first politicians to arrive at Te Tii Marae this morning was Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

Mrs Turei was with the hikoi of about 70 protesters opposed to deep sea oil drilling and mining.

"We support the kaupapa of the hikoi. This is about protecting our oceans. John Key is not listening to the community about this and the community is bringing it to him. That's the right thing to do," she said.

- Northern Advocate

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