Hone Harawira will front the nation today to apologise for comments he made about white people.
It will be the first time the Te Tai Tokerau MP has publicly spoken about an email, criticised as racist, that he sent to a party supporter who had asked him who paid for a trip the MP and his wife made to Paris.
No other Maori Party MPs are expected to be present at Waipapa Marae in Auckland. However, Mr Harawira may be supported by high-ranking party leaders.
Flaxroots members are frustrated with the emerging gulf between his politics and party direction.
The MP has serious issues with the party's support for ACC legislation, and the Emissions Trading Scheme. He has also struggled with failure to get any movement on Maori seats on the Auckland Super Council and how the party fits with National.
Donna Gardner, an Auckland University academic, said those doubts reflected the "frustrations" of rank-and-file members.
"There are a few people like me who really want this relationship with National to work but I guess our concerns are, what are the compromises we have to make to have influence in government? My major concern is how far do we go in terms of the Nationalisation of the Maori Party?"
There was a groundswell of support for the under-pressure MP because of his policy stances, which best reflected the beliefs of party members, she said.
"Hone is the MP who articulates them. He will have a groundswell of support from what might be called the activist fringe or the Tino Rangatiratanga fringe but in actual fact that's a lot of us."
Yesterday, Mr Harawira said he did not want to become a "lightning rod" for party members to latch on to.
"I do know about those concerns, but I've said to the people concerned that this is not something that I even want to deal with at the moment."
He would not be drawn on his working relationships with other MPs such as co-leader Tariana Turia, who has criticised his behaviour, or the degree to which he had become isolated from his four parliamentary colleagues.
The email controversy started when he responded to party supporter Buddy Mikaere, who asked him about the trip to Paris the couple took while Mr Harawira was on a parliamentary visit to Brussels.
Mr Harawira asked Mr Mikaere if he was buying into "that white man bullshit" and added that "white motherf***ers have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries".
Labour leader Phil Goff said the MP's actions could not be easily dismissed.
"I think if he was a member of the Labour Party, for making such an offensive comment with racist overtones, he wouldn't still be in our caucus."
He said the comments were "purely racist".
"He was excusing his conduct by blaming it on white people. He could apologise for it, but would it have any meaning if that's what he really believes? And I think it is what he really believes, that every problem he has is caused by white people. Well, it is not about that - it's owning up to the fact that he stuffed up, that he took time off when he was paid by the taxpayer to be at a meeting he was leading."
Mr Goff said it was up to the Maori Party to decide Mr Harawira's fate. "But if somebody was using vile racist abuse in the Labour Party to excuse their own actions, that wouldn't be acceptable and that person would not be in the Labour caucus."
Prime Minister John Key told TVNZ's Breakfast programme he definitely thought "a bit of an apology" was owed. "It's for the Maori Party leadership to sort that out, and I have got to say they are doing their best to try and deal with that situation."