Ngāpuhi elder concerned by suggestion to move Waitangi pōhiri from Te Tii Marae

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

The absence of the Prime Minister at this year’s Waitangi Celebrations has sparked discussions about moving the formal welcome from Te Tii Marae up to the Treaty grounds. 

Chairman of the Treaty Grounds, Pita Paraone says he has received multiple requests from elders at Waitangi to change the venue for welcoming guests.

Paraone says, “Maybe it's time to call a meeting to discuss this issue. However at the end of the day, I don’t have the final say.”

Ngāpuhi elder Kingi Taurua disagrees. That's despite his opposition to the Prime Minister attending Te Tii marae following the government's signing of the TPPA this week.

“Pita has no right to talk about anything in this region, his voice is only heard in Parliament,” said Taurua.

Paraone says the absence of the Prime Minister was noticed by many this year. It has sparked discussions to move the formal Waitangi welcome up to the Treaty grounds.

Taurua says, “John Key had no respect for us. I'm saying if you are disrespectful to me or the marae, you will not be welcome.”

“If Pita Paraone wants to move it, what about all of its history? Will Pita move it too?”

A meeting to discuss the change of venue hasn't been confirmed. But is an option Pita will look into.