Don Brash guaranteed protection at Waitangi speech

Hobson's Pledge spokesperson Don Brash has been guaranteed there won't be any mud-flinging when he speaks at Waitangi on Tuesday.

Ngāpuhi has invited the controversial former National Party leader to share the Hobson Pledge's views on the lower marae.

It's an invitation Dr Brash has accepted - but he admits to being a bit nervous.

He hasn't always had a pleasant reception at Waitangi. He was left with mud on his face and suit as leader of the National Party in opposition 15 years ago. It was just a week after his contentious Orewa speech.

"The Treaty of Waitangi should not be used as the basis for giving greater civil, political, or democratic rights to any particular ethnic group," he said in 2004.

Skip forward to today and he's preparing a speech for February 5.

"I was delighted to get the invitation and accepted it," he says.

He'll be speaking as the spokesperson for Hobson's Pledge, a group advocating for one law for all regardless of race.

"If we're going to solve these issues of racism we have to understand it," Waitangi organiser Rueben Taipari says.

"We may have to confront those issues in order to create a better future for our children. So the best place to understand that discussion is from the man himself."

Taking on board suggestions from Mr Taipari, Dr Brash has his talking points.

"Some of the things that Māori - particularly Ngāpuhi - could do to improve their economic status," he says.

"Also he mentioned my autobiography and said there are some sides of Don Brash that people don't know so talk a bit about your own background."

Dr Brash still manages to upset people when he speaks. Just last year he was banned from doing just that at Massey University so Auckland Uni took him instead and the auditorium was full.

Inviting Dr Brash to speak at Waitangi is like inviting a red rag to a bullfight, but apparently he's been guaranteed some protection.

"When invited Rueben Taipari assured me that I wouldn't go out in a coffin," Dr Brash says.

"We'll give him a forum that's run under the principles and the protocols of our tikanga Māori to look after him as we would any guest and any speaker," Mr Taipari says.

But when you're a political figure at Waitangi, you never know whether the day will end in a hongi or tears.