Media organisations will be encouraged to provide a koha (donation) to Te Tii Marae at Waitangi for Waitangi Day-related expenses but the $1000 fee demanded last year will not be sought.

"The board has decided the media have an open door for a koha," a marae official said yesterday.

It will be up to the donor how much to give as a koha, which is used to support the costs of greeting and hosting manuhiri (visitors).

Last February, relations got tense between some marae organisers, who demanded the fee, and non-Maori media organisations. Complicating the matter was that some Te Tii board members did not support letters which asked for cash.


TVNZ paid a $1000 fee, and filmed journalists such as TV3's Mihingarangi Forbes, who had paid a koha, being asked to leave.

She stood her ground, as did a Herald online cameraman.

Other media staff went on to the marae with politicians and avoided paying a koha or the fee. The marae later refunded TVNZ's $1000.

This year, Te Tii will receive $14,832 from the Heritage and Culture Ministry for Waitangi Day-related events.

Prime Minister John Key and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples give koha, as will the New Zealand Defence Force. Other events at Waitangi not involving the marae receive $81,726 from the ministry.

Marae kaumatua Kingi Taurua said the situation last year had been "ridiculous".

"It was very badly handled but it was too damn late - they'd already sent out letters, so I had to support what they were trying to do.

"My ears were ringing with complaints ... Certainly it was a hell of a blimmin' problem."


Mr Taurua also said a ban the board had put on activist Titewhai Harawira no longer applied.

The ban was instituted last year in response to her treatment of Maori Party members at a hui on the marae. She was angry about the party's treatment of her son Hone Harawira, the region's Maori MP.

"It's gone," Mr Taurua said. "It's all forgiven and forgotten."

Media organisations saying they will pay a donation this year but won't pay a fee:
* Maori Television
* Radio NZ
* TV3
* Television NZ