Judith Collins 'not interested' in Marama Davidson's criticism after accusation of meddling with marae protocol

A stoush has broken out at Waitangi with National leader Judith Collins torn apart by Greens co-leader Marama Davidson for interfering with marae protocol. 

On Thursday, National mounted a challenge for Collins to be able to speak at Waitangi's upper marae - and it worked. But Collins now stands accused of undermining tikanga and not having cultural experience. 

"Wāhine toa should be respected," Collins says. 

Because she wasn't allowed to speak on the upper marae on Thursday as part of the parliamentary pōwhiri, her male deputy Shane Reti stood in for her. 

Dr Reti challenged Ngāpuhi, saying it was disappointing because Collins is a woman. The challenge was accepted, but Collins doubled down. 

"We spend so much time thinking about racism, let's just think about sometimes making sure every girl gets a chance too," she said. 

She doubled down again on Friday. 

"It's not about me - time to change tikanga," she said. 

Announcing the Green Party's Māori priorities, Davidson said Collins should leave this particular Māori priority to Māori. 

"She does not have the cultural expertise to be able to acknowledge that wāhine Māori need to lead the discussion about what our roles are and where we put our voices," Davidson said. 

Collins pushed back on Davidson's remarks. 

"Marama will have to stand by her comments," she said. "I'm not interested in what Marama says."

Davidson says Collins also doesn't have the cultural expertise to recognise the significance of the karanga. 

"She undermines the meaning of the karanga by coming from a Pākehā woman's perspective of where the status of Māori women is."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is given speaking rights on the mahau. 

"I've never taken it for granted," she told reporters. "I consider it a privilege. I take it very seriously."

She says who gets to speak is none of her business.

"Ultimately, I'm guided by the Waitangi National Trust - they make the decisions."

The changes next year mean Davidson will get to speak too. 

"Well, obviously yes, Marama Davidson will be one of the recipients, but we don't need to score points on it," Collins said. 

Analysis by Political Editor Tova O'Brien

Barring a couple of scrapping politicians it's been a very chill Waitangi.

Some major political moments have happened like the marae speaking changes and Labour MPs returning to the lower Te Tii marae. 

But you can definitely feel the long shadow cast by COVID-19 - it's much quieter, with far fewer people. 

Next week is when the political show really takes off - the House sits for the first time.

No one will be standing on ceremony.