Former politician Don Brash has been invited to speak at the lower marae at Waitangi, where he was once pelted with mud by protesters angry at his infamous Orewa speech.

Brash, who was at the time the National Party leader, was hit in the face as he spoke to reporters at Waitangi in 2004, just a few days after the speech to Orewa Rotarians in which he railed against special treatment of Māori.

He is now spokesman for Hobson's Pledge, a group which campaigns against racial separatism or favouritism under the Treaty of Waitangi.

He admitted to the Herald on Sunday he was a bit nervous about being part of the line-up to speak in the forum tent at Ti Tii Marae.


Brash wouldn't be drawn on the detail of his speech or whether he would make any points on Hobson's Pledge, but said it would be "reasonably substantial".

"I understand that they may have a discussion on that issue that I'm sure I'll be invited to comment on, but I'm not quite sure how much I am free to say."

Asked if he was nervous about the reception he might get, Brash said: "Yeah, a little bit I must confess, but the person who invited me assured me that my personal safety would be fine."

Reuben Taipari, who has organised the speakers for the forum tent this year, said while there were people unhappy Brash was speaking, he would be safe.

"The reason for getting Don Brash in is, we've got hear his side of the story. In order to understand him and in order to find a solution we've got to be brave enough to have that conversation.

"We're inviting him into our space, the spaces where we're comfortable, and I respect him for accepting the invitation."

Taipari said he had no influence over what Brash would say.

Then National Party leader Don Brash leaves Te Tii Marae at Waitangi in 2004 after he had dirt thrown at him. Photo / File
Then National Party leader Don Brash leaves Te Tii Marae at Waitangi in 2004 after he had dirt thrown at him. Photo / File

"A lot of my people don't agree and there are going to be protests. Protesters are coming up because they don't agree that Don Brash should be given the right to speak.


"I want to listen to the man and so do a lot of our people. We want to hear it for ourselves."

Ngāpuhi had made a collective decision to invite Brash and he would be safe.

"We have cultural protocol, tikanga and manaakitanga and we will use those protocols to hold a very boisterous but nevertheless open discussion," Taipari said.

"If we are going to improve our relationships, for our country to understand each other, we have to come together and hear each other's opinions."

Brash was stopped from speaking at Massey University last year, purportedly for security reasons.

However, it emerged that vice-chancellor Jan Thomas was concerned about the impact of his views.

"Racist behaviour of Brash - given te reo is a official language of NZ and we are a tiriti led university - can't be ignored," Thomas wrote in an email.

Brash, who eventually gave his speech, said he owed Thomas a debt of gratitude.

"I feel she raised my profile substantially," he said.

"In fact, that's once of the points I'm going to make [at Waitangi]. They know that some of my views they don't agree with and nevertheless invited me to speak, and I greatly respect that."

Brash is not the first politician to suffer an indignity at Waitangi.

Former National minister Steven Joyce copped a dildo to the face in 2016. John Key was manhandled in 2009 when he was prime minister, and then prime minister Helen Clark was jostled in 2004, the same year Brash got a mouthful of mud.