Hone Harawira speaks out over Te Tii Marae decision

Former MP Hone Harawira has spoken out over Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern not going to Te Tii Marae.

After years of controversy, the decision has been made to go to the upper grounds of Te Whare Runanga instead.

Appearing on The AM Show on Monday, Mr Harawira discussed what this would mean for relations between Māori and the Crown.

"It's disappointing the Prime Minister's not going to Te Tii and I hope that in the very near future that rights itself and she's able to go back there," he says.

Over the years, the day has been marred by ugly scenes, including mud hurled at Don Brash and, of course, a sex toy tossed at Steven Joyce. However Mr Harawira says activism is an important part of remembering the signing of the treaty, and subsequent treaty breaches.

"Waitangi Day is a day of remembrance, a day of commemoration and that also involves people having their say about what they think has happened to us over the past 180-odd years," he says.

"It's important that protest continues to happen, it's important that the Government responds to that protest in the most positive way."

The decision for the powhiri to bypass Te Tii Marae was made by the Waitangi National Trust after Te Tii Marae's attempts to charge media $10,000 for broadcasting rights.

Other controversy included Bill English and former National Party prime minister John Key skipping events at the marae after they were not given the right to speak.

Last year, NZ First Leader Winston Peters also boycotted Te Tii, after members of the marae barred the media from covering a political forum held on its grounds as well as Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy's official powhiri.

Mr Harawira acknowledges that work needs to be done before Ms Ardern returns.

"I think there are issues we need to resolve here at home, that's not just here at Te Tii Marae, that includes here within Ngāpuhi generally in terms of where things are going," he says.

"I don't think it was a good look to ask for money from the media, but I think it's important to re-establish the mana of Te Tii Marae as a place where the prime minister should be coming every year."