Harawira matriarch faces marae ban

By Yvonne Tahana

Titewhai Harawira has accused Maori Party leaders of 'hanging off the jockstraps' of Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Titewhai Harawira has accused Maori Party leaders of 'hanging off the jockstraps' of Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Titewhai Harawira faces a possible ban from Te Tii Marae after being accused of "rancidification of Maori protocols" at a recent Maori Party hui.

In an email to the Herald, seven board members from the lower marae at Waitangi said they were disappointed protocols such as manaakitanga (looking after people and agreeing to disagree), whanaungatanga (strengthening families) and kaitiakitanga (caring for resources or people) were becoming meaningless to "a pocket of Maori people".

Board chairman Te Hapae Ashby and his deputy, Eruera Taurua, were among the board members who wrote:

"Te Tii Waitangi has been the springboard of Maori politics since the year dot and boards of trustees have for a long time accepted that.

"But the behaviour of Titewhai Harawira during a Taitokerau Maori Party hui ... her blatant breach of Maori protocol as a Maori person, the hate tactics being used to create dissension within the Ngapuhi tribe and division with the subtribes, and the taint of her foul language in our house of ancestors, on a marae which is significant to both Maori and Pakeha, is not acceptable."

At that hui, two weekends ago, the Harawira family doyenne - who has the distinction of reducing former Prime Minister Helen Clark to tears - called Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia a "bloody liar" and a "snake".

She accused Mrs Turia and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples of hanging off Prime Minister John Key's jockstraps.

The Te Tii email said the marae would not be a "dumping ground for personal agendas" any longer.

"The political poncing and resultant rancidification of Maori protocols by bullies who want everything their own way by whatever foul means, are not traits that this particular board would wish to have our children and young adults perceive as being the Ngapuhi way forward.

"The board's priority is to preserve the dignity of the marae and trespass notices will be issued where the board considers it necessary to do so," the trustees wrote.

Mrs Harawira said she had not used any salty language.

"It's something I never do. I never use that sort of language, ever, ever, ever."

A potential ban did not faze the matriarch.

"Whatever they want to do, that's fine. I've got no concerns, no worries if people want to seek a bit of publicity.

"One of the tikanga [protocols] people need to learn about the marae is that those challenges happen and you leave them on the marae. You leave them there with our tupuna [ancestors] and that's it."

- NZ Herald

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