Outrage from around New Zealand over leaked draft Treaty principles

There has been anger and outrage from around the motu about a leaked document that shows proposed changes to the interpretation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi).

The Government's own advice describes it as "highly contentious", partly due to the "lack of consultation with the public" before the select committee stage.

The document leak comes as iwi from around the country gather at Tūrangawaewae Marae, for a hui aimed at unifying Māori, as concerns mount over the Government's policies.

It was a warm welcome for Ngāti Kahungunu on a day of unwelcome news.

The leaked paper from the Ministry of Justice calls the proposed legislation to define the principles of Te Tiriti / The Treaty highly contentious.

And it's already proving to be the case.

On the eve of a national hui of unity, Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi posted part of the leaked document on Friday, saying "let this be the fuel to our fire".

"We will be relentless in our fight to ensure we are not erased, and that our rights are not extinguished when it comes to the political agenda of this current Government," Waititi told Newshub.

Māori academics have been quick to criticise the proposed changes.

"If there's enough truth in the document, or in the rumour, then we should start girding our loins, and getting ready to battle," said Tā Tīmoti Kāretu.

"We're not going to let it ride. The Māori population is here to discuss these sorts of issues and to come up with some sort of reaction. And I'm sure there was going to be a very strong reaction to this.

"I was quite surprised at how blatant the attempt [was] to essentially invisibilise Māori."

It's expected about 7000 Māori from across the motu will descend on Tūrangawaewae on Saturday.

They're already motivated by some of the coalition Government's proposals that they see as anti-Māori - and now the leaked paper might top the agenda.

"I think it won't be received well. Māori are struggling to understand and comprehend the logic behind the way in which this discussion is being framed," said Kiingitanga chief of staff Ngira Simmonds.

The last time iwi came together like this was 30 years ago, during nationwide protests against the National-led Government's so-called 'fiscal envelope'.

The policy tried to limit the monetary value of Treaty Settlements, but it was roundly rejected and eventually dropped.

Among the many speakers at tomorrow's hui will be 17-year-old Te Atamihi (Ngāti Maniapoto).

She's a product of a kind of pathway that Māori are now concerned might be blocked or interrupted with the new Government's proposals.

"It's just quite disheartening I feel. I've heard stories from a lot of kuia or koroua, they've actually tried to work with the Government or these types of people in the ministry," Te Atamihi told Newshub.

"And all that hard work of them building relationships, building bonds, can be gone with the click of a finger."

With Rātana and Waitangi, two national events in February, tomorrow's could well send a tohu (sign) about how Māori plan to respond.