Prime Minister’s Queen tribute 'tone deaf and insensitive' on Waitangi Day - Te Pāti Māori

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Te Pāti Māori has slammed the Prime Minister for a tribute made to Queen Elizabeth II in her 70th year as monarch on Waitangi Day.  

"Whilst the PM pays tribute to a Queen we are trying to divorce, whose people have consistently dishonoured Te Tiriti o Waitangi, our thoughts are with our own rangatira and our own tīpuna who were slaughtered at the hands of her people, our people who have continued to fight against the oppression that her monarch represents for us, fighting against constant breaches of the Treaty,” Māori Party co-leader, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, says.

Te Pāti Māori is calling for a 'divorce' from the crown and questions the timing of the Prime Minister’s tribute to the 95-year-old head of state.

In a statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “Today the Queen has reigned for 70 years. She became Queen on February 6, 1952, and today marks the beginning of a year of celebrations of her platinum jubilee, as well as the day we remember and celebrate our nation’s founding document.”

“Since the Queen took the throne as a young woman of 25, she has dedicated her life to service. We thank her for her dedication and inspiration,” Ardern says.

“As Queen of New Zealand, she has always shown a deep personal interest in the life and wellbeing of our nation. On behalf of all New Zealanders I would like to wish her well for this historic year.”

Te Pāti Māori is calling it “an incredibly insensitive move".

Divorce the royal family

Te Pāti Māori today announced its call to ‘divorce’ the crown by removing the British royal family as head of state, and moving Aotearoa to a Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based nation.

“The only way this nation can work is when Māori assert their rights to self-management, self-determination, and self-governance over all our domains. Our vision is for constitutional transformation that restores the tino rangatiratanga of tangata whenua in this country,” Ngarewa-Packer says.

Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi, added, “This won’t mean the Crown is off the hook. If a couple gets divorced, you don’t lose responsibility for your child. This will be an opportunity to reimagine a more meaningful and fulfilling partnership, between tangata whenua and tangata tiriti.”

Years of breaches

While today marks 70 years of the Queen, Waitangi Day 2022 marks 182 years since the signing of the national document, which has constantly been a point of debate. Many have cited the shortcomings of the government in fulfilling their duties as officers of the crown.

In 1865, only 25 years after the signing of Te Tiriti, 99% of the South Island and Stewart Island was acquired by the New Zealand Company.

Between 1985 and 2020, $2.9 billion was the total spend on compensatory settlements, less than 1 per cent of the loss suffered by Māori.

Laws and legislation were used as tools of theft. The New Zealand Settlement Act 1863 and the Native Lands Rating Act in 1882 transferred Māori land to Crown ownership. Public works was another mechanism used to acquire Māori land for schools, roads and for wartime purposes. Large parcels of these lands have not yet been returned to Māori despite the use being completed.

A 21-gun salute will be fired from Point Jerningham, Wellington on Monday, February 7 to mark the anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.