'We will be there': Jacinda Ardern speaks out on Ihumātao

Jacinda Ardern has spoken out over Ihumātao as she continues to come under fire over her handling of the divisive issue.

The Prime Minister is visiting Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngāruawāhia on Tuesday for the annual Kiingitanga Koroneihana celebrations.

King Tuheitia has offered to act as an intermediary in the land dispute between Ihumātao's iwi authority, which supports a proposed development, and activists who oppose it.

"On issues like  Ihumātao, the difficult issues, the hard issues, we will be there, we are there in those conversations," Ardern said.

"I speak directly to myself here. I've learned that sometimes, leadership means recognising when you need to create space for others. To let grievance be heard. To hear different ideas. To where these different ideas may compete.

"But to allow the space of others to find by Māori for Māori. I will be there for those hard conversations. I am there. But I'll also recognise when the seat at the head of the table isn't necessarily me.

"Those conversations I know will continue. I know we will continue to have leadership by Kiingitanga as we have always had and you can guarantee that we will work there alongside, that we will bind together, that we will hold fast, that we will hold firm."

The Prime Minister came under fire at Tūrangawaewae by iwi leader Che Wilson, who compared her handling of Māori issues with her handling of the Christchurch terrorist attack.

"What I encourage you to consider now is to show the courage again when it comes to Māori," he said, according to TVNZ.

"You asked us to keep you to account at Waitangi this year. But every big issue with regard to Māori, it appears that you hide away."

The Ihumātao activists, led by Pania Newton and the Save Our Unique Landscape group, have repeatedly called on Ardern to come and visit - something she has so far refused to do.

They say they're planning a hikoi to the Prime Minister's office in Mt Albert if she won't visit the historic site.

"If Jacinda doesn't take up our invitation to come to Ihumātao, then we have no other option but to march to her office to hand-deliver our petition," Newton told reporters last week.