Waitangi organiser defends 'innovative' decision to invite Don Brash to speak

It's been 15 years since Don Brash's last appearance at Waitangi left him covered in dirt after a protestor hurled a mud clot at him. Now, he's been invited back to speak.

Waitangi organiser and protestor Reuben Taipari spoke to The Project on Monday about why he invited such a controversial figure.

But he says the line-up as a whole is not controversial.

"We've got over 40 speakers coming from around the world, but the media is just concentrating on Don Brash. We've got a very diverse conversation," he said.

But why Hobson's Pledge founder Dr Brash? Well, he has a lot to offer, according to Mr Taipari.

Don Brash covered in mud at Waitangi in 2004
Don Brash covered in mud at Waitangi in 2004 Photo credit: Getty

"What [Don Brash] brings to the table is he's a doctor, he's been in some high positions, financial ones as well," said Mr Taipari.

"We're trying to change the flavour and trying to be more innovative.

"We want to create our own financial freedom, stop being dependent on the Government, stop having all these racist attacks on us that we're some kind of bludging society."

He says if they want to change the narrative, they need to be creative.

"If we're gonna do that we've got to go to every corner of the community to get the information we need."

Not satisfied with Mr Taipari's answer, Newshub's national correspondent Patrick Gower asked him if this was all a media stunt. But Mr Taipari was having none of it.

"Everyone moved on, and we haven't asked you to come back. That's why we're standing on the outside of the marae and we're not letting you in.

"There's no cameras allowed in when he's speaking, no social media allowed when he's speaking."

Watch the video for the full The Project interview.