Te Tii Marae speaks on protocol

By Heeni Brown

Te Tii Waitangi Marae trustee Emma Gibbs-Smith doesn't want the PM's snubbing of proceedings at the marae to affect anyone else from coming to the commemorations set for 2017.

Gibbs-Smith says, "Please come and stand with us the home people of Waitangi. It's not our fault our customs are being tarnished. Don't just come to Waitangi and protest, if you’re going to do so, protest down in Parliament."

65-year-old Gibbs-Smith is fifth generation descendant from Te Kēmara, one of the signatories of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. She has been trying to maintain a long standing tradition of commemorating the long standing agreement between Māori and Pākeha.

"We all know the Treaty of Waitangi started in Waitangi and that's all I have to say about that."

The former marae chair says the protocol of no speaking rights during pōwhiri and political talk for the tent remains after the Prime Minister’s decision not to attend Waitangi.

"We embrace anyone and everyone no matter who they are. We welcome them into our home as our own. So when the pōwhiri is completed, the tapu from that ceremony is lifted and we then become one. The pōwhiri isn't so you can come with your own agenda if you come into the pōwhiri that's the time we respect our ancestors who created this day."

Te Tii Waitangi Marae are due to meet again on Thursday.