October 04, 2016
Independence talk to include Waitangi welcome
The question of whether the formal welcome at Waitangi should be moved up to the Treaty Grounds has been put off until a hui at the end of the month.
Pita Paraone, the chair of the Waitangi Day organising committee, says not enough people, turned up at last Friday’s hui on the issue to make any definitive decision.
Instead it will be debated when Ngapuhi gather at Waitangi on October 29 to mark the signing of the 1835 Declaration of Independence.
He says the important thing is not to have a repeat of this year’s controversy, when Prime Minister John Key stayed away after being told he was unwelcome on the lower Te Tii Marae because of his promotion of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.
"My stance has always been that the powhiri is one where we welcome our visitors, irrespective of who they are. There shouldn't be any difference between welcoming the prime minister, the governor general or welcoming my extended whanau to the marae. We extend the courtesy of welcome, we give them a cup of tea and then we take the opportunity of discussing our concerns," says Pita Paraone.
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