Calls for Phil Goff to quit after offending Māori King with coronation comments, forgotten karakia

Prominent Māori leader Tukoroirangi Morgan wants Phil Goff to quit as New Zealand's UK High Commissioner for offending the Māori King.

Goff forgot to observe the karakia and failed to recognise the Māori King's own coronation. Now there's pressure from Māoridom for Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta to act.

It was a tikanga blunder of epic and public proportions, which Goff scrambled to smooth over.

"My apologies if the protocol did not meet your expectations," Goff said.

But sorry is not enough - according to prominent Māori leader Tukoroirangi "Tuku" Morgan.

"Phil Goff needs to stand down. He's the sort of person that, in my view, he is not the kind of person who is appropriate for this mana," Morgan said.

Morgan used to be the King's spokesperson and is now the chair for Te Arataura governance board for Waikato-Tainui.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta is also from Waikato-Tainui and her own Iwi is putting pressure on her to take action over this "diplomatic incident".

"She has the important responsibility of making sure representation across the globe is both appropriate and clearly what happened yesterday is just an indication of how things can go wrong when you got the wrong person in the wrong position," Morgan said.

"It starts in Wellington, within the Ministry, we don't have Senior Māori roles, that's then reflected around the world," Waikato-Tainui chief executive Donna Flavell said.

A 2021 MFAT report called for the ministry to create a deputy secretary position focused on treaty partnerships. But that has not yet happened.

"It is completely inappropriate and unacceptable that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have Māori at senior positions," Morgan said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement to Newshub the lapse in tikanga was a "regrettable mistake" for which the High Commissioner has apologised.

"The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of the Māori-Crown relationship, especially at this event," a spokesperson said.

"This is a reminder to think more carefully about how the Māori-Crown relationship is recognised, in the future."

The Ministry said Manatū Aorere has established a specific programme to build its Mātauranga Māori capability, including delivering on the recommendations from the Matauranga Māori at MFAT Report.

"One of the recommendations of the Report is to bring advanced Mātauranga Māori/Treaty partnership expertise to the Senior Leadership Team, leading the Ministry’s work on a partnership vision and developing a tirohanga lens," the spokesperson said.

"The Ministry has established a specific Māori Partnership group (Te Hurumanu) which brings a Te Ao Māori perspective to support Manatū Aorere’s Chief Executive and Senior Leadership team as they consider the strategic policy and operational issues facing the Ministry.

"Te Hurumanu complements a number of existing partnerships the Ministry has with other groups, such as Te Taumata, Ngā Toki Whakarururanga, the Federation of Māori Authorities, and National Iwi Chairs Forum.

"Manatū Aorere continues to seek specialist advice on the implementation of the Report, including ensuring the Senior Leadership Team has access to advanced Mātauranga Māori/Treaty partnership expertise."

However, on Saturday it was all smiles for Kiingi Tuheitia - who got the respect from King Charles that he didn't receive from our High Commissioner.

They greeted each other with aroha, according to a statement, and four coronation gifts were presented. The highest Kiingitanga honours for Charles and Queen Camilla - a mere pounamu and a special tartan that was designed to honour the first Māori king.

The pair will meet again at Windsor Castle on Sunday, with Kiingi Tuheitia and his wife invited into the royal box for the coronation concert.