National | David Cunliffe

Politicians converge on Tūrangawaewae for Koroneihana celebrations

Politicians converged on Tūrangawaewae Marae today for the eighth Coronation celebrations of King Tūheitia.

Prime Minister John Key and Opposition leader David Cunliffe were welcomed onto Tūrangawaewae Marae side-by-side.

Flanking John Key were Sir Wira Gardiner and Hekia Parata, while next to David Cunliffe was Nanaia Mahuta and Louisa Wall.

Rahui Papa, chair of Waikato-Tainui's Te Kauhanganui, posed the all-important question to the pair; "What would they do to help Māori prosper at this election?"

John Key arrived via helicopter and the Labour Party says it's up to voters to judge whether that use of resource was fair on the campaign trail.

The media weren't permitted to film the politicians on the marae, a decision which hasn't been implemented in the past few years.

There's no doubt the call is in partly due to the controversy around the recently-released book, Dirty Politics, though John Key says he had nothing to do with the call.

According to one member of the group, Tekau Mā Rua, advisors to King Tūheitia, it's expected that politics will feature in his annual address on Thursday.

King Tūheitia has certainly been taking a more leadership role in gathering Māori over national issues including recently Te Kōhanga Reo.

Over the years, Labour has held a strong relationship with the Kīngitanga, though King Tūheitia himself was at one point a fully paid member of the Māori Party.

Nanaia Mahuta has held the local Māori seat since 1999.  However, Angeline Greensill has put her hand up again for Mana and Susan Cullen for the Māori Party.

All eyes will now be on King Tūheitia's speech on Thursday, in particular whether listeners will be given guidance as to which way their votes will fly.