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Ngāpuhi leader apologises to PM over Waitangi Day
9:03 pm GMT+12, 11/01/2017, New Zealand

Ngāpuhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua is apologising to New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and says he is welcome to speak at Te Tii Marae, even in English.

Taurua had told media the prime minister was being a "spoilt child" by refusing to attend commemorations at Waitangi but said he had now seen a letter sent to English that banned him from speaking at the pōwhiri.

He said that letter was not vetted by the marae's board and he hoped the prime minister would change his mind.

Taurua said if the prime minister refused to attend, he would be disrespecting the Treaty.

"It's not disrespecting me, it's disrespecting the Treaty of Waitangi.

"We are actually saying: 'we are no longer committed to the Treaty and therefore the Treaty is gone and so is this whānau relationship that we've had since 1840, this whānau relationship no longer exists.'"

Taurua said he felt the Prime Minister was dodging Waitangi because he did not want to hear grievances, including the government appointing members to the Iwi Leaders Forum instead of the people.

Taurua said Waitangi was a forum for those topics to be raised.

"If we are not going to talk, if we are not going to settle our differences, if we are not going to do anything then let's pick up the Treaty and throw it into the sea and forget about it - let's be enemies then."

English has said the marae committee was disorganised and he would not change his plans even if he was allowed to speak.

SOURCE: RNZ/PACNEWS


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