Politics hot topic on stage

By Heta Gardiner

Politics has been a hot topic on the stage this year, from the "kau kāwanatanga" to a celebration of the unity between the Māori Party and Mana. As one tutor mentioned, it is hoped that it caught the attention of those who make the decisions.

Groups at this year’s Te Matatini festival are once again using the stage to push political messages and challenges.

This morning the group Matapihi from Aotea expressed anger at dredging of the iron sands in their region. Matapihi leader, Pepe Shanell Wallace says no issue is taboo.

“Absolutely, they must be discussed.  No matter the issue, let's discuss it. Then we can see who will answer,” she said.

Te Iti Kahurangi from Tainui likened the crown to a cow which consumed and destroyed natural resources.

Defending champions Te Whānau-a-Apanui, however played another hand by acknowledging the work achieved by the Māori Party and its leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

“The main message of the action song is to encourage Te Ururoa to do his best, and for the Māori in Parliament to do the same,” said performer Rawiri Waititi.

Flavell said he was humbled by their words while Labour Māori MP Meka Whaitiri said the stage was the right place for political debate.