Māori King keen to collaborate with the Govt

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was formally welcomed onto Tūrangawaewae Marae for the first time by King Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII today.

The pair discussed a range of matters including reducing Māori prison rates and addressing poverty. 

The meeting at the Māori king's official residence is a sign that the relationship between the monarch and the Labour Party is on the mend.

Ardern walked the forecourt of Mahinaarangi flanked by the king's daughter Ngawai Hono i Te Po, as part of an ancient ritual of welcome.

A mutual exchange of acknowledgments signaled the desire of the king movement to collaborate with the government for the betterment of Māoridom.

“Make yourself comfortable on the porch of our ancestral house, Mahinaarangi,” says spokesperson Rahui Papa, “she and Ngawai Hono i Te Po will guide you”.

On the porch of the Mahinaarangi ancestral house, the prime minister replied, “And I would love to announce here today the name of the pēpi, but, of course, you haven't gifted me one yet”.

Two years ago, King Tuheitia criticised the Labour Party in his annual address at the 10th anniversary of his coronation.

However, spokesperson Rahui Papa says, “Labour was chosen again as the government.  The people have spoken, so the king's role is to adhere to wishes of the people and work with the government whoever that is”.

In a speech made to parliament this week on behalf of King Tuheitia, Papa said he wants to establish a number of initiatives including a tripartite covenant agreement with police, and corrections. 

He also wants to koha land worth $3mil to build transitional housing for prisoners.

“That is such an important piece of work, an example of the opportunity we have to work together,” says Ardern, “And I would like us to see us build more of those opportunities.”

Furthermore, King Tuheitia has called for a national summit on policing, focused on recruitment of Māori to be held at Tūrangawaewae marae in July.