Dr Shane Reti delivered his maiden whaikōrero as leader of the opposition on the courtyard of Te Whare Rūnanga Marae today.
During his whaikōrero, Reti said in te reo Māori, "I stand here as a representative for my leader, Judith. Don't be offended, but the National Party is disheartened that she is not allowed to speak on the "pae" in her capacity as leader of the National Party - Why is that so?"
"Is it because she is a woman?" Reti probed the marae-ātea. "Do not forget the mana of our women, the house of humanity."
Reti, of Te Kapotai descent, concluded his whaikōrero by saying he preferred to lay it out in the open for the "haukāinga" to consider.
In 2018 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was the first female prime minister to speak at the marae.
Back in 1998 Titewhai Harawira took a stand in 1998 blocking then Labour opposition leader Helen Clark from speaking on Te Tii Marae: “You let Helen Clark speak but not Māori women.”
Further back, Te Pūea Hērangi, the great Waikato leader, spoke at the 1940 centenary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Whina Cooper lifted the tapu of the newly carved Te Whare Rūnanga.
In 1997, at Te Kōpua, Annette Sykes spoke as land rights leader Tuaiwa Eva Rickard was laid to rest. In 2014, Green Party co-leader Meteria Tūrei spoke at Rātana and on Te Tii Marae at Waitangi.