Kuia says she was ousted from kaumātua tent for her Tino Rangatiratanga flag

By Harata Brown

There are claims that former Ngāpuhi Rūnanga chairman Sonny Tau kicked an elderly woman out from the tent that provided shelter for elders at the Ngāpuhi Festival.

The Tino Rangatiratanga flag flies high at Te Tomo Nahi's home in the valley of Mangakahia.  It was the same flag which caused a stir at the Kaumātua Kuia Tent at the Ngāpuhi Festival.  

Te Tomo Nahi (Ngāti Terino, Ngāpuhi) says, "Someone came behind me, and said to me, get that outside!  I just turned around, I thought he was joking.  Then I turned to him and said, really?  Then I knew it was Sonny, Sonny Tau."

Nahi says she had her Tino Rangatiratanga Flag rolled up when she went to have a rest at the Kaumātua Kuia tent.  She also says she wasn't protesting.

"I felt really embarrassed because the tent was full of elders and I was making my milo.  My cup was still sitting there at the table, and so was my flag.  If he would have asked me nicely or even acknowledged me, and said, "Hello", or "How are you?" or anything.  He didn't say anything, all he told me was take the flag out, and I had to go with it," she explains.

Nahi suffered from a heart attack five months ago and now has a pacemaker.  Nephew, Kahore Anania says that Nahi finds it hard to breathe at times. 

He explains, "She cannot walk far, she loses her breath, all those symptoms affect our kuia.  So it is there that we feel aggrieved at what has happened to our kuia.  It makes us angry and we feel for her as well."

Te Kāea tried to contact Sonny Tau to ask him whether this is appropriate behaviour for an iwi leader however, he couldn't be reached.