Watch: Nicole McKee comforted by fellow female MPs during heckling at Waitangi

  • 05/02/2024

ACT MP Nicole McKee was supported by fellow female Cabinet Ministers after being heckled during her speech at Te Whare Runanga on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

McKee, whose whakapapa is Ngāpuhi, spoke completely in te reo Māori as a woman in the crowd was moved on after yelling and appeared to be holding a banner.

When McKee mentioned the Treaty of Waitangi, someone yelled: "ACT Party go home and do your homework!"

"You should be ashamed of yourself, the whole lot of you," another man yelled.

Others broke out into singing a waiata as McKee spoke, before she was joined by female Cabinet colleagues Casey Costello, Brooke Van Velden and Nicola Willis.

McKee is Courts Minister and Associate Justice Minister. She entered parliament as a list MP in 2020.

In her Waitangi speech, she said she was proud to be part of the ACT Party and shared a message of unity.

"I am a true Māori and a proud person of Scottish descent," McKee said, according to the translator.

"New Zealand, we are striving to speak about the rights of the Treaty within this new world. 

"We do not want to trample upon the Treaty. However, we want to bring everyone as part of it, so they can share their views.

"This is an opportunity for us to sit together humbly so we are able to empower all cultures. We, the ACT Party, are making a strong effort to confirm the principles within the Treaty."

McKee said she had listened to the extensive range of views from around the country on the Treaty since the new Coalition Government was formed last year.

"We are focused towards the future and a world we hope is for all of us. I have aspirations for my children, for their children and for their grandchildren to be united and for us to love each other," she said.

"It is a dream for us to proceed together in a humble manner in line with the traditions of all cultures. It is a future where everyone is able to speak and discuss these matters so the country can move together and not have another culture be trampled upon, but for all of us to receive the benefits that are appropriate for all.

"I, Nicole McKee, acknowledge everyone - thank you, thank you everyone."