Politics | Koroneihana - Coronation

‘Don’t treat Māori as a political football’, political parties told

There was a show of political force at the Koroneihana on Sunday, with most of the political parties - except NZ First and ACT - sending leaders, MPs and candidates along to Tūrangawaewae marae in Ngāruawāhia.

This included Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who was seated on the mahau (porch) of the wharenui Mahina-a-rangi, National leader Chris Luxton, Marama Davidson from the Greens, Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, and even Freedoms NZ leader Brian Tamaki.

Che Wilson, the former Te Pāti Māori president and the new chair of the Tekaumārua, the King’s Council, was quick to instruct those present.

“Don’t treat Māori as a political football,” he said.

Kīngitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa joined in, telling politicians to “stamp out racist politicking in New Zealand”.

“It is not in your political manifesto to belittle Māori in their own whenua,” he told listening politicians.

Papa said Māori had “stood up” for the country, with activities “by Māori being carried out for the benefit of the nation”, such as vaccination drives during Covid-19, and marae sheltering displaced people during extreme weather events.

He also said that whatever the outcome of this year’s election, he wanted a commitment for kāwanatanga (government) and rangatiratanga (Māori leadership) to work together.

“Either work with us or get out of the way,” Papa said.