The powhiri for official Waitangi Day guests will be shifted from Te Tii Marae to the Upper Treaty Grounds for the next two years, a hui had decided.

The hui, at Te Tii Marae last Friday, comes after Waitangi National Trust chairman Pita Paraone told marae trustees in June the pre-Waitangi powhiri to welcome dignitaries would be held at Te Whare Runanga at the Upper Treaty Grounds next year, as opposed to Te Tii Marae where it is traditionally held.

After this announcement Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua called a hui of Ngapuhi kaumatua and kuia saying it should be Ngapuhi who made the decision, not just those involved in the organising of Waitangi Day.

"There was quite a number of Ngapuhi at the meeting. They had made a recommendation that Waitangi Day should be moved up to the top for two years.


"People said they were sick and tired of seeing negative reports about Waitangi, how they are not caring for the visitors, so the best decision was to move it. There was no opposition," Mr Taurua said.

At the conclusion of the hui it was decided the powhiri should be held at Te Whare Runanga.

Mr Paraone said the fact that it had reached the stage where kaumatua at the hui also agreed it should be moved, showed there was support.

The decision to bypass Te Tii Marae comes after years of controversy which included a lack of speaking rights which led to Prime Minister Bill English and former PM John Key not attending; and the media ban.

Mr Taurua said the next step would be meeting with Mr Paraone to discuss the logistics such as where people could go to have a cup of tea.

He said after two years had passed, there would have to be more discussions about whether it could be moved back to Te Tii Marae.

"In my own heart and mind it should be at the bottom where the marae is. It is the place they first talked about the Treaty of Waitangi."

Te Tii Marae chairman Ngati Kawa Taituha did not wish to comment.