Regional | King Tuheitia

'Phil Goff must stand down': Tukoroirangi Morgan calls out high commissioner as inappropriate for 'position of this mana'

Video / Kereama Wright / Aukaha

"Unacceptable in 2023" is how Waikato-Tainui's Tukoroirangi Morgan has labelled high commissioner Phil Goff's act of shunning King Tuheitia and tikanga Māori at New Zealand House in London on Thursday (local time).

Goff made a clumsy reference - in front of the Kīngitanga delegation and other dignitaries including Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro and Prime Minister Chris Hipkins - about how few people at the function in the lead-up to King Charles III's coronation this week had seen a coronation in the past - seemingly to illustrate the significance of the proceedings involving the new British monarch - but failing to recognise that King Tuheitia himself was coronated in 2006.

This raised the ire of Kīngitanga spokesperson Archdeacon Ngira Simmonds who remarked, "None of you if you come to Tūrangawaewae marae will ever feel belittled I guarantee you."

Now Morgan has double-downed on Goff's inappropriateness for a 'position of this mana'.

"He has a duty to observe tikanga. The manner in which he disrespected Kīngi Tūheitia is unacceptable in 2023," Morgan told Aukaha's Kereama Wright reporting for

"My view is that anyone who holds that position of high commissioner here in London should be able with some aplomb and some diplomacy [to] represent us truly. And observe the protocol and etiquette that is not only the acceptable practice at home but when our people come to places like Great Britain.

"We would want to know that our people are respected. And certainly, that wasn't the case yesterday."

Morgan did not pull any punches stating unequivocally that Goff must be removed from office and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has to ensure Aotearoa has "accurate" Māori representation in senior foreign office roles.

"Phil Goff needs to stand down. He's the sort of person that actually in my view is not appropriate for a position of this mana.

"You need someone who has the ability to straddle both worlds, to be respectful of our etiquette, our historical context, more especially to give credence to the importance of partnership - and the high commissioner Phil Goff did not do that. It's happened far too many times."

"His inability to be respectful not only to Kīngi Tūheitia but to any Maori that comes to this country of some standing needs to be respected."

Morgan described as "completely inappropriate and unacceptable" the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's failure to action calls in 2021 for the establishment of senior Māori positions within MFAT.

"It is completely inappropriate and unacceptable that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have Māori at senior positions where the voice of Māori can be heard and accepted with some significance and importance. This is 2023.

"Our people continue to be minimised and marginalised within the Crown framework and that's unacceptable."

"We need to send a message to the honorable Nanaia Mahuta. She has the important responsibility of making sure that actually representation across the globe is both appropriate.

"Clearly what happened yesterday is just an indication of how things can go wrong when you have the wrong person in the wrong position.

"And for me, I thought that the comments made by Phil Goff were totally inappropriate and unacceptable, and he must stand down as the high commissioner to Great Britain."