Call for national unity and to separate politics from treaty debate

National Unity

Calling for national unity, Māori King Tuheitia has issued a royal proclamation wanting a national hui to take place.

King Tuheitia and the Waitangi National Trust say they want to hold the ‘unifying’ national discussion on the Treaty principles while the new coalition government prepares its own political debate on the issue.

The royal proclamation was made a day after Tuesday’s ‘National Māori Action Day’ which saw country-wide protests over the new coalition Government’s plans.

These plans include political hot potatoes such as the public service reducing the use of Māori language and relooking at the Waitangi Treaty principles.

Kingi Tuheitia says he received a clear message from Māori across the country last weekend, which has inspired his call for a national hui.

“There’s strong opposition to the Government’s statements on the Treaty of Waitangi which could undermine decades of hard-fought justice and equality for our nation” he says.

The hui will create a safe space for both Māori and non-Māori to unite and have their voices heard.

It will take place at Turangawaewae Marae in Waikato on January 20.

The Kingitanga will take the outcome of the hui to both Rātana and Waitangi Day commemorations for iwi, whanau, and politicians to hear.

Waitangi 2024

The Waitangi National Trust which in charge of the commemorations is in the early stages of planning next year’s event.

Trust chairman, Pita Tipene, says there will probably be three days of events from February 4-6.

The Governor-General’s powhiri will be on Feburary 4, followed by political parties the next day. The annual political talks will take place and the traditional dawn service will take place on February 6.

Earlier, on 1 February, the Iwi Chairs Forum with the government is expected to be held.

Tipene says Waitangi Day is about the “two partners – iwi Māori and the Crown – so it’s only right the Government is there”.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says it’s his intention to be there. He acknowledges its importance but says nothing has been confirmed yet.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins and colleagues intend being in Waitangi for the three days.

Tipene hopes Waitangi will provide an opportunity for debate and discussion in which all political parties will join.

“Given the turmoil the country has found itself in around the Treaty principles, now is the time for discourse, debate and discussion.

“The lead-up to Waitangi Day is always a tense occasion given the political issues – and that’s at the best of times without what is happening around the Treaty principles rights now” Tipene says.

He says that the Treaty principles legislation and select committee process agreed to as part of National’s coalition agreement with ACT is the right discussion but the wrong format.

He wants to see something more neutral to lead the discussion. He thinks it would achieve the same outcomes without the politics.


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