Te Pati Māori swearing-in during Parliament opening was taster of thrilling political scenes to come

The Parliament was officially opened on Tuesday, and it was a taster of the thrilling political scene we are set to see this term.  

Te Pati Māori MPs swore allegiance to the Treaty of Waitangi and mokopuna - or children - before the traditional oath.   

It was a continuation of a day of protest that saw action across the country with Māori gathering to stand up against the policies of the new Government.   

Democracy began at dawn in its purest form: people power. There were pistols drawn on shirts all across Aotearoa. It was a mobilisation of Māori against the coalition on motorways, on bridges, on streets.   

In Wellington, they marched to the heart of power - Parliament - to send a message through haka and waiata.   

The 54th Parliament was officially opened, with the judges entering one by one. Each MP swore an oath of allegiance. Some clutched bibles, others copies of the Treaty, and there was also a family tree. ACT leader David Seymour swore on the Bill of Rights Act.  

The Prime Minister received a gentle ribbing from his opposition for his prior mispronunciation of heirs as hairs.  

But it was Te Pati Māori which stole the show with haka and waiata in the House.  

They swore their own oaths.   

"I swear that I will be faithful and bear full allegiance to our mokopuna," said co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.   

"Exercise my rights in accordance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi," said co-leader Rawiri Waititi.   

The Māori Party eventually took the oath of allegiance - to "Kingi Harehare".   

Interestingly, Harehare also means offensive or skin rash.   

"They are trying to make fun of the transliteration Hare, which if said as harehare is kind of a transliteration of Charlie, but it also means something objectionable," said New Zealand First MP Shane Jones.   

Te Pati Māori organised the people protest and carried out their own parliamentary one, with decidedly mixed reaction.  

"It would be awesome to see the oath changed," said Greens co-leader Marama Davidson.   

"We swore our own oath, how we think an oath should be sworn in Aotearoa," said Waititi. "It should reflect Ti Tiriti o Waitangi, but there also should be a commitment to our mokopuna. That's exactly what you hear today was a commitment to upholding the mana of our mokopuna."     

"I actually think it's narcissism," said Seymour. "It's all about them when everyone else can be respectful of the institution they have worked hard to be elected to. I did notice that after all the theatrics, they still swore allegiance and signed up to make sure they get paid."  

Labour's Willie Jackson said Seymour can "jump in a lake".   

"I love living rent-free in his mind," said Waititi of Seymour.   

Jones wasn't impressed with Te Pāti Māori's actions in the House, calling them "excessive".    

"It is preposterous that the Māori Party should think that they are the authentic voice for Māori New Zealanders. I remind everyone again that party got less than 3 percent of the vote and a lot of their party voters were not Māori, a lot of them were hippies." 

Te Pati Māori had one last trick up their sleeve as National moved to elect Gerry Brownlee as Speaker. Debbie Ngarewa-Packer nominated her own - the former Speaker Adrian Rurawhe. But he didn't accept. 

Brownlee beat the odds and partook in the tradition of being dragged to the chair.   

Jenna Lynch Analysis

There's a bit more ceremony to come on Wednesday, which will be the grandest day of all.

It's the state opening of Parliament and there'll be brass bands, a grand procession and the Governor General will deliver the Speech from the Throne. That's the official promise from the Government to the people, stating its intentions.  

As we have seen the last couple of weeks the traditionally ceremonial occasions have been hijacked by other parties, like Winston Peters and Te Pāti Māori. It will be interesting to see whether Christopher Luxon gets one clear run at a big day on Wednesday.

The protest action we saw on Tuesday was peaceful and largely not too disruptive, but many are looking at it as the entree to the hikoi to come. Willie Jackson is picking protests 20 times the size of it when all the iwi leaders organise.

This looks to be shaping up to be a tumultuous term - particularly when it comes to race relations.