Waitangi marae's $10k coverage fee

Waitangi's Te Tii Marae
Waitangi's Te Tii Marae (Wikimedia Commons)

Waitangi's lower Te Tii Marae is seeking to charge media outlets up to $10,000 to film dignitaries and politicians arriving on Saturday and Sunday. 

The marae's communications liaison, known simply as 'Tana', says the tradition of media companies gifting a koha to the Marae has been scrapped, and replaced with a 'coverage fee'. 

The cheapest 'coverage fee' is $1200, which gives entry to journalists, photographers, and camera operators - but restricts them to two areas of the marae grounds. 

The only other option is an 'exclusive package' costing $10,000 which gives access to all parts of the marae, including inside during speeches. 

Newshub was offered the exclusive rights last night but declined.  It's understood TVNZ was then approached, but also refused.

Te Tii's new coverage rules come after a series of heated meetings involving the marae's trustees, which followed Prime Minister Bill English boycotting the marae's ceremonies. 

The marae is primarily run by Ngati Kawa and Ngati Rahiri - two hapu within the wider iwi of Ngapuhi. 

It's understood members of Ngapuhi accused the hapu of taking Waitangi celebrations hostage, and making the entire iwi look like a laughing stock.