Whether or not the prime minister will be present at next year's annual pre-Waitangi Day powhiri is still up in the air after no decision was made at a hui held to discuss 2017 commemorations.
Pita Paraone, a member of the Waitangi Day organising committee, held a hui at Te Tii Marae on Friday to discuss next year's pre-Waitangi Day powhiri after "shenanigans" this year resulted in Prime Minister John Key's decision to avoid Waitangi.
One of the topics raised was whether or not Mr Key would be banned from attending next year's events at Waitangi.
"After much discussion we felt there was not enough in attendance, and more marae kaumatua were needed to make that decision," said Mr Paraone.
Mr Key said he hadn't made a call on whether he would return next year.
"They have asked us for an indication at some point, whether we intend to return to Waitangi. We haven't made that call yet. At some point we will engage with them. It's just a little bit too early at this point," he said.
The Government's support for the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal triggered debate over whether or not Mr Key would be welcome at Te Tii Marae this year.
Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua called a hui before Waitangi Day where attendees voted 38-14 to ban Mr Key. However, it was decided he would be welcome under the condition there was no political talk on the marae. In the end, Mr Key labelled the marae's organisation as "mickey mouse" and decided not to attend Waitangi at all.
Mr Paraone said Mr Taurua was not at Friday's hui and attendees felt he needed to be involved in discussions before any decisions were made.
He said there may be a follow-up hui on October 29 when commemorations are held to mark the signing of the 1835 Declaration of Independence.
Mr Paraone believed Mr Key should be welcomed on to Te Tii Marae for Waitangi Day commemorations.
"I think it's an opportunity for the people of the north to meet their PM. If you consider the Iwi Leaders Forum, they have met at Waitangi, during Waitangi Weekend ... if the Government doesn't turn up - that's a missed opportunity," said Mr Paraone.