January 26, 2014
Ratana host defends stoner marae ramble
An organiser of Ratana celebrations has defended the right of a cannabis campaigner to say his piece during the welcomes.
Fred McDonald from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party spent about 15 minutes addressing Friday’s hui, using copious notes to make his case for decriminalisation.
Labour MP Shane Jones responded by telling the crowd that drugs and alcohol were a major problem in Maori communities, and Ratana should not allow its powhiri to be diminished by some half-stoned creature from Macdonald's farm.
Church spokesperson Andre Mason says he was disappointed by Mr Jones’ response.
"It was inappropriate the way he spoke about that individual.
That individual had every right. He began his speech in Maori, even though it wasn’t very clear, he tried his best and his hardest to do so, greeting to Ratana’s birthday and also greeting to those who have passed on, and then made his way to his issues. Certain individuals on the marae also had their thoughts and yelled it out. That was inappropriate. That individual had every right to speak his thoughts," he says.
Mr Mason says the waka of Cook and Tasman are on the house at Ratana, so Pakeha have the same right to speak on the marae as Maori.
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