National | Covid-19 Traffic Light System

Safety measures but Tainui whānau happy to be back at Tūrangawaewae

Today Tainui-Waikato whānau were able to join together at the Tūrangawaewae marae for the first time in three years but there still had to be some restrictions.

The Covid-19 pandemic meant the Koroneihana event had to be livestreamed in recent years but even today there had to be some restrictions, the king’s spokesperson, Rahui Papa says. This year marks the 16th anniversary of the coronation of King Tuheitia.

Despite being able to operate safely under a Level Orange of the government traffic light system, many safety measures will remain throughout the week of the coronation events including an on-site testing area.

“It's not very different from other years but we want to make sure the people stay well. Our king has said to prioritise the health of the people and we'll make it through but there are some restrictions so the virus doesn't spread and so this is a major difference from other years,” Papa says.

Today, families of those from Tainui-Waikato who had lost loved ones during that time arrived at Tūrangawaewae marae to reflect and remember the dead.

“Despite the sadness, tragedy, and pain of the gathering, what was uplifting was that the descendants of our canoe came together in the presence of our king to mourn and acknowledge the dead and the living,” Papa says.

Paying respects to Sir Toby Curtis

The kīngitanga is also preparing a contingent to send to Te Arawa, which is still mourning the recent loss of one of their leaders, Sir Noble Toby Curtis known for his contributions to education, Māori, and broadcasting.

“He was one of the 12 representatives of the King, and he’s someone who fought for Māori across various initiatives. It's only right a representative should pay our respects to this leader of Te Arawa.”

Tomorrow, iwi from around the country will get the opportunity to bring their kawe mate to Tūrangawaewae marae. The coronation commemoration ends on Sunday following a visit from the Prime Minister on Saturday.