Māori King delivers blunt message to critics

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

King Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherewhero VII has hit back at people within the tribe who are threatening to undermine his office.

In his speech at the 12th anniversary of his coronation, the King delivered a blunt message.

“I want to secure the stability of the Kiingitanga so that my family and my successors no longer have to face external, evasive, demeaning actions that demean the mana of Kiingitanga,” said King Tuheitia.

His response followed a scathing letter by his former advisor, Tukoroirangi Morgan, in which he referred to Tuheita as a 'puppet King'.

Morgan launched the attack after an Serious Fraud Office investigation into a person close to the King.

“I'm sad that there are a few people within us that would wish to publicly undermine my office and therefore the Kiingitanga,” he said.

King Tuheitia, flanked by his daughter Ngaa Wai Hono i Te Po, delivered a stern message to those who threaten his office.

“I recall my tupuna, Te Wherowhero, faced similar threats, he simply decided the hole being dug for him will be filled by those with the shovel.”

Te Arawa iwi, Ngāti Pikiao, has direct links to the Kiingitanga Movement through their ancestor.

Elder Muriwai Ihākara says regardless of any disagreement, they continue to support the cause.

“It's right for us to challenge ourselves.  Be strong!  Be energetic to test ourselves with the principles of unity,” he says.

“It's not that we can't question one another when we are united, but we can sit and discuss the issues face-to-face, head-to-head until we achieve our aspirations.”

The King praised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her leadership but had one message for her.

“I urge you to continue to demand greater performance from your ministers and their departments.  To ensure better outcomes for all citizens and especially Māori,” he said.

King Tuheitia sent one final message, instructing his advisers to begin a process of future proofing the King Movement.