Ngāpuhi's Sonny Tau takes jab at Jacinda Ardern's Treaty knowledge in Waitangi speech

A Ngāpuhi leader has called out leaders who don't know the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi. 

Sonny Tau, who in 2016 was fined and sentenced to community work for killing five protected kererū, said New Zealand leaders should know the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi. 

"Only one thing I've got to say this morning and that is: If we're going to lead a country, we need to learn the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi," he said, during the Waitangi Day dawn service on Wednesday. 

"There are some of us, leaders, who have slipped up on that, and all I ask is by this time next year that we all know the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi."

People at the grounds that Newshub spoke to echoed Mr Tau's comments, saying it shouldn’t just be our politicians but all Kiwis that should know the articles.

His comments came after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stumbled when asked to recite Treaty of Waitangi articles when she arrived at Waitangi on Monday. 

"Look, I know the principles of Waitangi, I know our obligations," she said.

"Of course, we as a Government are trying to fill those not just in legislation, but in the policies and programmes that we roll out.

"Certainly, I learnt about the Treaty as part of my education, and many of our young people will and should as part of learning about Aotearoa's history."

Mr Tau said there's "a lot of angst about the Treaty of Waitangi", adding that a lot of people "don't actually realise the beautiful document that it is". 

"I know a lot of people in this country, even our European neighbours, haven't been to a marae before. 

"I want to encourage you all to visit a marae - it's not as scary as people think it is."

When asked to respond to Mr Tau's comments, Ms Ardern told Newshub: "I absolutely know the articles of the Treaty."

"It's a fair point and I wouldn't disagree with that at all," she said of his remarks.

"We need to ensure that in the work that we do we are fulfilling the articles of the Treaty."