Editorial: Curtains rise for Waitangi show

By Christine Allen

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All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players".

As the curtains of Waitangi Day rise and the sets of Te Tii Marae and the flagpole are polished up - the spotlight shines on Northland this week.

Beds have been booked and buses have been filled. Halftime refreshments are in abundance. The media critics have descended - poised for action.

With hours until the main show, who will be our leading lady?

Maori activist Titewhai Harawira is adamant that she will escort Prime Minister John Key on to Te Tii Marae tomorrow.

Yet, some of Te Tii Marae trustees, including Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua, believe it's time for Mrs Harawira to take a bow and leave the stage.

Mana is a funny old thing - from what I hear. I always thought the main characteristics were humility and wisdom. The beholder of mana is surely someone with grace and a sense of propriety.

The Irish writer John O'Donohue describes humility - "And may you come to see your life as a quiet sacrament of service".

The role of escorting the Prime Minister onto the marae is surely a "quiet sacrament of service". But there is nothing quiet about the Harawira matriarch and grandmother of Waitangi Day's most disruptive protesters.

Ngapuhi's David Rankin now calls it "cultural chaos". Kingi Taurua wants Mrs Harawira out to make way for kuia who get their hands dirty through silent service throughout the year.

Hopefully, there will not be violence at this year's Waitangi Day as a result of Mrs Harawira. If there is, perhaps we should remember that hers is one short part of many acts in this theatrical Northland event.

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances."

Is it time for Titewhai's exit? A graceful bow is the usual protocol or have the Harawira shenanigans become the main act?

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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