Major Māori events cancelled -how will MPs kick off the 2022 political year?

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

The political year usually kicks off with some of the country's biggest Māori-connected commemoration days. Next year however the political year will look very different. How will politicians kick off the political year? 

Waitangi Day and Ratana Church commemorations have been cancelled in the interests of public health. Usually, they are the hot locations for Māori announcements, and have been the kickstart to the political cycle for years.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would wait on decisions from the Waitangi National Trust about events on Waitangi Day and plan accordingly. 

MPs will have to find new ways to honour the Treaty and get buy-in from tangata whenua.

Waitangi probably online

Among the cabinet ministers Ayesha Verrall said she would look towards local events, Grant Robertson will be at home in Wellington and Chris Hipkins says he's looking forward to a break.

The government has committed itself to a Māori Health Authority, the reshaping of Oranga Tamariki, and a shift in what is taught in history in schools.

 Willie Jackson says the list goes on with Māori media and Whānau Ora sitting high on the 2023 priority list. 

"We're almost at the halfway mark to the next election. Ensuring connection to Māori voters will be essential.

"We'll still contribute to those kaupapa, with Waitangi probably online." He said "we need to strategise" for the upcoming budget. 

Where and how connection to kaupapa Māori will happen in the new year is yet to be decided.