Ngāpuhi elders discuss potential changes at Waitangi celebrations next year

By Harata Brown

Ngāpuhi elder Kingi Taurua says he's willing to step down from his roles at Te Tii Marae so Waitangi Day welcomes can run smoothly.

The decision follows a recent meeting of Ngāpuhi leaders.

Kingi Taurua admits he caused a huge stir at Waitangi this year.

Taurua told Te Kāea, It is best that I step aside because I was the problem, I was the disobedient one. The issue this year was that I didn't want the Government to come on to the marae.

A group of Ngāpuhi leaders have met to discuss a way forward for Waitangi Day celebrations following the Prime Minister's absence at Waitangi this year.

Pita Tipene of Ngāti Hine says, “Te Tii Marae is the place to address issues, disputes and all. I believe that we must first respect and take care of all of our visitors, including the Prime Minister. But we must understand the challenges he faces and the concerns of the home people.”

The Prime Minister refused to attend Te Tii Marae this year amid threats of a gagging order.

It's the first time John Key had not been present at Waitangi since he became Prime Minister in 2008.

Taurua says, “Let the iwi decide whether I am right or wrong.

If I am wrong, things will not run smoothly at Waitangi next year.

I continue to disagree outright with a Government that tramples over the Treaty and the Declaration of Independence 1835.”

This issue is expected to be resolved before Waitangi Day commemorations 2017.