Te Tī Marae to continue with Waitangi Day celebrations

By Tumamao Harawira

Ngāpuhi will continue to host annual celebrations commemorating the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Trustees of Te Tī Marae in Waitangi met and decided to soldier on with the celebrations. Rueben Taipari, who was an attendee at the hui held at Te Tī to discuss this year's celebrations says it was a decision made by the mana whenua of Waitangi.

"Ngāti Kawa, Ngāti Rāhiri have their own rangatiratanga so they decide for themselves what are they going to do. So this decision to have a commemoration for Waitangi has come from the Te Tī Marae, and from Ngāpuhi Whānui who were at that hui."

This comes despite a decision made by the Waitangi National Trust to postpone this year's celebrations. That decision has had a domino effect with the Government choosing to forgo their attendance this year. Rueben said the Waitangi National Trust made its decision in haste.

"They had a very quick fire hui and they reacted quite abruptly in deciding not to open up the grounds for this year's Waitangi."

While not having one partner of Te Tiriti there to partake in the commemorations, Reuben says this will not have an effect on how Te Tī Marae chooses to commemorate the day.

"Regardless of whether the government attends, or whether the Prime Minister decides or doesn't decide, over the years and over the decades, many prime ministers have decided not to attend yet ka haere tonu te kaupapa."

With the Northland region still in red under the Government's traffic light system to help try and contain the spread of Covid, Rueben says the iwi have a plan in place to minimise the risk. He also believes Ngāpuhi must use Covid as an opportunity to re-evaluate processes.

"The point around Covid and how we are using it is to do a reset and set our own protocols, reimagine our authorities and take back control of what Te Tiriti o Waitangi looks like.