Letter to John Key outlines Waitangi speaking rules

Letter to John Key outlines Waitangi speaking rules

Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua has slammed Prime Minister John Key for saying he would not attend Waitangi commemorations unless strict speaking rules are thrown out.

Mr Taurua told Newshub he was "really pissed off about the bastard", trying to alter the kawa (rules) of the marae, and said it simply wasn't going to happen.

Last night the Prime Minister was sent a letter from by the Te Tii Marae Trustees which said he would be allowed to speak in the whare, but his speech must not be political.

The letter also said that if Mr Key wanted to speak, he would have to go to Hone Harawira's political forum tent where he's been allocated one hour.

Today, Mr Key called those rules a "gagging order" and said he wouldn't attend on Saturday unless the rules were revoked.

Mr Taurua had only just been informed of the Prime Minister’s new stance when he spoke to Newshub this afternoon and said there was no way the rules would be changed.

"He thinks he has the power over everybody, the power over us. Well, this is one opportunity that he will never have the power, we have the power, we are not going to change because of what he wants."

Mr Taurua also said the Prime Minister’s requirement for changes was disrespectful to kawa which has been around since "the beginning of time".

"It is very disrespectful for him to do that; the rules of the marae has been there for many, many generations and we are not about to change it.

"I am really starting to dislike this man, because he thinks he can make changes and thinks he can boss our people around on our marae. Well, we are not going to change, we are not going to be bossed around," he says.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said he wouldn't speak on any other part of the marae apart from the whare.

The letter tells Mr Key in very strong language that he is not to takahi (trample) on the kawa (rules).

Ngapuhi had earlier struggled to decide whether Mr Key would be allowed to attend events at Waitangi this year as some leaders, including Mr Taurua, threatened to block him as a protest against the signing of the TPP.

The Prime Minister has also been banned from speaking to the public from the mahou (gate).


Waitangi Letter