'Unbelievable': Ōpōtiki councillor fuming after karakia labelled 'an insult' by Grey Power

Louis Rapihana
Louis Rapihana Photo credit: Facebook.

A Ōpōtiki councillor says it's "unbelievable" that his use of Māori to perform a karakia at a community meeting was blasted as an "insult" to its attendees. 

Louis Rapihana spoke at the Whakatane Grey Power meeting late last year and this week came across a newsletter from the organisation which apologised for his karakia labelling it "an insult". 

"I would like to apologise to the members as I had no idea [Rapihana] did not speak English otherwise I would have got someone to interpret," it read.

"If this was deliberate, then it was an insult to both our speakers, neither of whom spoke Māori ."

Rapihana posted a picture of the newsletter on Facebook, saying it was "unbelievable".

"As you can see I do speak English," he wrote.

"However when I want to put my point across I will speak in my native tongue as it will come across nicer! 

"You invite a guest to your meeting and then rubbish him in your monthly issue, this goes to show that racism is well and truly alive!"

The editor of the newsletter, Siva Panadam, told Local Democracy Reporting she did not believe her comments were racist, and Rapihana should have translated his comments into English.

Rapihana says he will be lodging a complaint about the newsletter with the Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.

Newshub has contacted Panadam for comment.