Tauranga speaker says she wasn't shouted down for speaking te reo Māori

Mt Maunganui. Photo credit: Getty Images

The speaker at a Tauranga event says she was not shouted down by the crowd for speaking te reo Māori and was in fact largely supported.

Kim Williams was addressing about 300 people at the launch of the Tauranga Ratepayers Alliance at Mount Maunganui. She told The Bay of Plenty Times she had spoken mostly in English and only about "six words" in te reo Māori when people in the crowd began to yell at her.

They shouted they "didn't want to hear that" and that Williams should "get off the stage".

The Bay of Plenty Times said discussing the incident brought Williams to tears.

However in a statement from the Tauranga Ratepayers Alliance on Friday Williams said "the media are making a majority out of a minority".

"Much of the noise was the audience objecting to the two or three abusers I was looking directly at," she said.

"The room supported me. Dozens from the meeting approached me after to offer love, support and apology."

Williams added MC Peter Williams "absolutely condemned those two or three bigots who enjoy the negativity of divisiveness".

The Ratepayers Alliance, backed by the Taxpayers Union, is a new group which aims to hold the Tauranga City Council accountable.


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