Rātana hui chance for iwi to voice opposition against TPP

By Ripeka Timutimu

Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe says Rātana will be the last opportunity for iwi to unite and voice opposition over the signing of the TPP.  

Trade Minister Todd McClay confirmed today the Government will host the signing of the agreement on February 4 in Auckland.

Preparations have begun for Rātana celebrations this weekend, and Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe is expecting heated debate over the TPP.

Rurawhe says, "I think the TPPA issue will definitely be a subject to discuss on the marae."

That, "It would be a waste of time them coming here and us not saying anything and I think its the last opportunity but we have to take the opportunity."

The Labour politician and Rātana local says this year will see a change in tikanga at the Pā.  Iwi will now be welcomed on before the political parties, to present a united front for Māori.

"It's important that we as Māori to maximise our opportunity as Māori to send clear messages to the government," says Rurawhe.

Around the Pā not everyone was in the know about the TPP.

Despite the government confirming the signing on February 4, Rurawhe isn't giving up on voicing his concerns alongside the likes of iwi including the Kīngitanga, Tūwharetoa and Whanganui.

He says, "I think it's absolutely appropriate what we are thinking, and they need to respond to that so it's not a waste of time, it would be a waste of time them coming here and us not saying anything."

Political parties will be welcomed onto Rātana this Sunday.