An "Uncle Tom" versus a "toothless sheep" - it was two minor parties that got the biggest reactions at Ratana Pa on Tuesday.

Opposition parties were there to make their pitch to Maoridom in an election year. The National and Maori parties had their day on Monday.

The leader of the new Opportunity Party, Gareth Morgan, said New Zealand First leader Winston Peters advocated removing the Treaty of Waitangi from legislation and was leading Maori on "a one-way track to cultural oblivion".

"It seems to me that Winston Peters gets away with this because he is Maori. I don't accept that excuse. I can't understand why Maori don't stand up and call him out for being nothing more than an Uncle Tom," he said.


When Mr Peters got up to make his speech, he was laughing.

"It's a long time since I've been ravaged by a toothless sheep," he said.

He went on to call Mr Morgan a "thinned-down version of Kim Dotcom", and said he was in his fourth decade at Ratana, while Mr Morgan had been "driving around Asia on a motorbike".

Mr Morgan shrugged off the "toothless sheep" taunt, and noted Mr Peters didn't even mention the Treaty of Waitangi in his speech.

On the previous day new Prime Minister Bill English got a good reception from Maori. He spoke at length in te reo, and they remembered his friendship with local woman and MP Dame Tariana Turia.

Several of Tuesday's speakers remembered that he also said Government had reached the limit of what it could do for Maori.

The first of them, Rahui Papa on behalf of the Maori King Tuheitia Paki, said Maoridom was listening to the political promises, and would watch to see whether they were kept.

Labour leader Andrew Little said his party took its relationship with Ratana seriously and the two had been in talks.

National had spent millions on new roads and an IRD computer, while saying it could do no more for Maori. Its single biggest investment was $1 billion on a prison.

"That's an admission of failure," he said.

Housing was in crisis, with 60 per cent of New Zealand adults and 25 per cent of Maori adults owning their own homes. Labour's KiwiBuild policy would fix that.

"We have to build more houses for people to own, half in Auckland and half in the rest of the country."

The Ratana settlement wants to progress a new subdivision of 60-70 houses.

"KiwiBuild can help you get those houses. We're not giving houses, we're giving a way to get them built," he said.

Rangatahi (youth) were another priority.

"Our Ready for Work policy is about valuing our rangatahi, and giving them self respect and self esteem."

Green Party co-leader James Shaw talked of his party's agreement to work with Labour, to address the issue of Maori poverty. He said Maori and Greens shared a focus on caring for the land, and the number of Maori voting Green had trebled in the last few elections.

"The Maori vote is becoming more powerful, and it's more powerful when expressed with unity. This year you can vote for the status quo or vote for change, for being closed and defensive or open and welcoming, for fear or hope."

Two years ago Gareth Morgan was challenged at Ratana to promote the Treaty of Waitangi. His Opportunity Party would make the treaty central, he said.

It would work toward a written constitution for "democracy Kiwi-style", and add an upper house to Parliament. The constitution would give rights to both people and nature.

After treaty settlements are made there is still lots to do to enact the treaty, he said.

"Te reo Maori needs the same rights as English, to be required to be taught in all schools."

Mr Peters said Maori weren't concerned about an upper house in Parliament.

"Seventy-five per cent of Maoridom just want a house, any house that they can afford."

They also wanted a decent job with first-world wages, and decent health and education systems.

He went on to talk about immigration. The number of immigrants coming into New Zealand every year was almost equivalent to the population of New Plymouth, he said. In Auckland, 45 per cent of the work force were immigrants.

"Where do you fit in? The answer is, you don't. You have been told it's good for you. Far too many people are telling you what's good for you," he said.