Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox says it is time Maori had a discussion about the right of Maori women to speak on marae after PM Jacinda Ardern spoke during the powhiri at Waitangi.
Ardern became the first female Prime Minister to speak during the powhiri on the marae, a right usually reserved for men.
Fox said it was up to the local marae to make that decision and was pleased Ardern had spoken.
However, she would like to see more Maori women get the same rights. She said while it differed for some marae, in many it was tradition for only men to speak during a powhiri and sit in the front row because their role was to protect women, as childbearers.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"Yet here is our Prime Minister, who is hapu, speaking during the powhiri.
"It was with the sanction of the local people and that is cool.
"But for Maori women, I think it's time to bring this debate into the present. It will take Maori women to stand up and not accept anymore that they need to be protected by the men to speak on their behalf when we've been doing it so hard by ourselves for such a long time.
"We are solo mothers, we are captains of business, we are CEOs, we are directors. We hold our positions based on our own mana and if women feel the need to speak or have that desire to do so and are articulate in our language and understand our kawa or culture, I think it's time to allow them to have that place."
She said marae had agreed to break the rules for pakeha women and men in the past.
On the marae, Ardern had said it was a privilege for her to be able to speak and she was determined to prove she could earn that right by addressing the issues that beset Maori people.
She asked those at Waitangi to hold her to account for that.