Prime Minister John Key welcome at Te Tii Marae next Waitangi Day

By Mikaela Collins -
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New Zealand Prime Minister John Key hongis with Ngapuhi Elder Kingi Taurua, during the welcoming at Te Tii Waitangi Marae in preparation for Waitangi Day celebrations.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key hongis with Ngapuhi Elder Kingi Taurua, during the welcoming at Te Tii Waitangi Marae in preparation for Waitangi Day celebrations.

A Ngapuhi elder has put his personal animosity towards the Government aside, saying the Prime Minister should be welcome at next year's Waitangi Day commemorations.

A meeting was held at Te Tii Marae over the weekend to discuss Prime Minister John Key's visit to Waitangi after he avoided the marae this year following a call to ban him from the site.

The general consensus was that he should be welcomed at next year's commemorations.

Ngapuhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua, who had called to ban the Government from Te Tii Marae at this year's Waitangi Day commemorations in a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) signing, said he had put his personal views aside.

"We had people who were supporting the idea to have John Key attend the Waitangi Day commemorations and they wanted to talk to him personally about particular issues, and by not allowing him to attend there is a possibility they will not get their views across," said Mr Taurua.

"That is the reason why I went along with what the people wanted when I opposed Mr Key coming on this year - that was the voice of the people at the time."

Mr Taurua said an invitation would be sent to Mr Key welcoming him to next year's Waitangi Day commemorations.

He said as part of the invitation they would ask him to stay on marae grounds after the powhiri so that people could express their views.

"They think John Key should be welcomed on as a visitor to the marae. There is a venue, to be arranged, where John will attend that venue and listen to the concerns of the people, whatever that may be," Mr Taurua said.

"In the past he has left (after the formal welcome) but I hope he stays this time."

Pita Paraone, Waitangi National Trust chairman, said he was pleased with the outcome of the hui.

"I think the fact that Kingi himself took the provision he did take, that provided some comfort for the marae people," he said.

"They were of the view that in spite of what one's personal views are that the powhiri should be to welcome everyone to Waitangi."

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