Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:
Prime Minister John Key is set to receive a frosty reception at Waitangi this week amid infighting and anti-asset sale speeches.
Ngapuhi leaders are trying to replace Titewhai Harawira from her job of escorting him on to the Waitangi lower marae. But she is vowing to keep the role.
Unless the kaumata are willing to physically tackle Titewhai to the ground, I’d say she’ll stare them down and will end up escorting the PM, as she has for the last 15 years or so. And if they did try to physically prevent her, you can imagine the wider Harawira clan would join in a pitched battle. You could almost sell popcorn!
The annual celebrations will be further complicated by revelations Maori Council co-chairman Maanu Paul will make a speech about the water rights court battle which threatens to delay the Government’s asset sales agenda.
The Supreme Court heard from both sides during a hearing last week.
Mr Paul said he was “very honoured” to be able to speak at the marae. The Maori Council would hold a meeting in Waitangi today to discuss what the speech would say, but water would be the main focus.
I think no-one will be surprised that a body that has taken the Government to court, will inevitably get up and say how awful the Government is (unless they agree to what the Maori Council wants, which seems to be some free shares for them).
UPDATE: My prediction of Titewhai is looking a good one. She just walked the Governor-General on!