Politics | Kīngi Tuheitia

Kīngitanga: ‘We’re going to go to Waitangi in force’

Kīngitanga spokesman Rahui Papa Photo / Aka Creative Ltd

“Yesterday Coalition minister Shane Jones challenged us to go to Waitangi. We’re going to take him up on his challenge,” Kīngitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa told Te Ao News today.

“We’re going to go to Waitangi in force because, when Kīngi Tuheitia lit the fires at Rangiriri, that mauri is within the hearts and minds of the people, of the King and of his people.”

Papa is adamant that this is just the beginning of further meetings across the motu that will take place soon.

“We’ve come to Rātana in force. We will be at Waitangi in force then, progressively, over the year, we want to hear from all facets, from the flax roots right to the board tables of te iwi Māori and so there are going to be a number of engagements across the country in times to come.”

He says ‘”the more we talk about it, the more it becomes ingrained in the mind, and the more it becomes ingrained in the mind of the government of the day”.

“We’ve been a few times to Waitangi but mainly at the call of people like (the late) Hector Busby who asked for the waka tauā especially in 1990. We went to Waitangi in force with our four waka and then in the times of Kīngi Tuheitia.

It’s not like an annual cycle type thing but it’s really important because of the kotahitanga (unity) that was shown at te hui ā-motu, the kotahitanga that was shown at Rātana and the kotahitanga that will be shown at Waitangi.”

Reassured by prime minister

Papa says he was glad to hear the commitment from Prime Minister Chris Luxon at Rātana yesterday that his government was not going to meddle with Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“The thing for me though is that they need to be reminded that, when the tiriti was signed 184 years ago, there was no colonial government. It was a relationship with te ao Māori and the Crown that means some real specific rights for te ao Māori.”

“If we’re going to go down the track of equal everything, then it minimises the tiriti relationship between te ao Māori and the Crown.”

He said the tribunal was really a recommendation sort of entity when the late Matiu Rata put the bill forward in 1975 and then Koro Wētere extended it back to 1840. There were some real things, people could go and air their grievances.”

“I think the Taraipiunara (Waitangi Tribunal) should be left alone. The Taraipiunara has the power to investigate all of the historical occurrences, the breaches to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and then to come forward with their report.”

“I don’t think that it should be bound to any government. I think the taraipiunara is doing a bloody great job, so don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.”

The Kīngitanga will be welcomed with a pōwhiri in Waitangi on Sunday, February 4.

Te Rito