Jones says shift Waitangi Day celebrations

February 9th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Former Labour MP Shane Jones has thrown his weight behind calls to shift Waitangi celebrations involving the Crown, away from Ti Tii Marae. 

The national day and lead-up was marred by in-fighting among trustees of the lower marae. Drawn-out confusion over whether Prime Minister John Key was even invited, and a gagging order placed on him by some trustees led to his withdrawal from Waitangi celebrations at the weekend. …

Northland-based Jones, now New Zealand’s economic development ambassador to the Pacific, said he supported the calls.

“Unfortunately all Tai Tokerau (Northland) tribes are tainted by the Te Tii Marae circus. Their decision that the PM could go on the Marae but not talk makes a mockery of Marae culture.

“What were they thinking, that the leader of the nation would stand and hum Pokarekare ana?” said Jones. 

And Jones further says:

He said a vote over whether trustees would extend an invitation to the Prime Minister this year was “farcical”.

“Such hui and decisions showed that Marae cannot cope and an alternative venue should be used to prevent Waitangi looking like wairangi (delusional).”

Why not shift it around New Zealand and allow different Iwi to host it? I’m sure Ngai Tahu would put on an exceptionally good Waitangi Day, for example.

You could rotate it among all the Iwi that have completed Treaty settlements with the Crown.

Key is attending Waitangi

February 4th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

On Tuesday, leaders voted 38-14 in favour of stopping Key attending, but were overruled by Ngapuhi elders.

Key said marae trustees had issued him a formal invitation after another meeting on Tuesday night, with “all of the same privileges and procedures there’ve been in the past”, and he would attend the event.

However, the large crowds of protesters expected at Waitangi were a complication, with the possibility that it could be too unsafe for him to get onto the marae.

“In a practical sense, if there’s so many people that they physically block the cars from getting in, I can just envisage a situation where I don’t actually get on the lower marae.”

He was “not looking for an excuse to get out”, and said he was happy to defend the Government’s support for the TPPA deal at Waitangi.

Almost any other PM would have happily take the vote as a great reason to not attend, and make them look ridiculous.  It is a measure of his commitment to good faith relations that Key is willing to endure the abuse and threats.

I’m not optimistic that the radicals won’t go over the top and it could get very nasty.

Watkins on Waitangi

February 3rd, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins writes:

Remember when Titewhai Harawira used to be one of the reasons politicians stayed away from Waitangi?

You reap what you sow, as they say. On Tuesday, Harawira phoned with a personal appeal for Prime Minister John Key to attend the traditional Waitangi Day commemorations at the trouble-plagued Te Tii Marae.

But if Key stays away it will be because he’s sniffed the winds of public opinion as Waitangi threatens once again to descend into conflict and acrimony  – and judges that voters have had a gutsful of the annual Te Tii Marae sideshow setting the tone for our only national day.

No, if he stays way it will be because they voted 38 – 14 not to invite him.


Day off for the PM!

February 2nd, 2016 at 3:18 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key will be blocked from going on Te Tii Marae.

Marae elder Kingi Taurua has confirmed the final decision was made not to invite Mr Key onto the marae at a hui today.

“They put it to the vote and the vote decided it, not to allow him on.”

Excellent. PM gets a day off.

As the marae has decided they no longer want the Government to attend, I presume they no longer want money from the Government for any activities at the marae!

UPDATE: Radio NZ is reporting that he has been invited on. But possibly not allowed to speak. I guess all will become clear in time! It may be that Ngapuhi have voted one way, but the marae the other.

If I was the PM, I’d not turn up. He has said he’ll attend whenever invited, but they appear to have voted that they don’t want him there. There are thousands of others places in NZ that do welcome him, and welcome the opportunity to debate issues with him.

UPDATE2: TVNZ reports:

Ngapuhi representatives spent the day locked in talks at Waitangi.

A vote was held this afternoon on whether Mr Key should be blocked. The result was an overwhelming 38-14 in favour of stopping him from coming on to the marae.

But Te Tii elder Emma Gibbs then told ONE News those from the marae had overruled the decision and he would be welcomed on – but wouldn’t have speaking rights.

Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua reacted angrily to that claim and said in fact Mr Key would be blocked.

Ms Gibbs says as locals, they will continue to welcome anyone on to the marae, even if others disagree.

Again, there are many other places you can go.

Stupid quote of the week

January 8th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Mr Little said it would also be inappropriate to hold a signing ceremony for the deal two days before New Zealand’s Waitangi Day.

“Our national day is a day that we celebrate our national identity and national sovereignty, and this is an agreement that potentially compromises our sovereignty.”

That’s pretty pathetic, and just desperate.

So how many days before Waitangi Day is okay? 2.5? 3? 3.5?

Peters right on this one

February 5th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has taken the rare step of going into bat for the Prime Minister over Waitangi Day protests, saying those who use the occasion to shout and disrupt the Prime Minister’s attendance at Te Tii Marae are “crapping on their own heritage”.

Prime Minister John Key is to be welcomed on to Te Tii Marae today and has said he expects protests, having been grabbed and shouted down in previous years.

The initial signs that this year would also be restive came yesterday when the Governor-General was shouted at and there was a scuffle between protester Hinewhare Harawira and marae elders at the door of the meeting house.

If the PM announced he would never attend Waitangi Day at Te Tii Marae again, he’d probably go up 10% in the polls.

The PM and Waitangi Day

February 6th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

When the PM was Opposition Leader he said he would attend Waitangi Day at Waitangi as Prime Minister, for as long as he was PM. He has kept his word and as far as I know is the only Prime Minister to have attended 100%.

I think it is very good for the PM to attend. It is a chance for dialogue and discussion. Shouting past each other is not a substitute for fronting up.

However there is some obligation on the hosts to be good hosts. By that I don’t mean that Waitangi should be protest-free. That is not under their control, and protesters have freedom of speech.

But what I do think is unacceptable is to keep the Prime Minister waiting for almost an hour, while you work out who accompanies him. It is rude, and inconsiderate. I doubt any other Head of Government would sit around for an hour while they have a silly squabble.

The fact that there are some strong personalities like Titewhai Harawira involved, is no excuse. Waitangi Day is once a year. They could have raised this issue months ago to try and get an agreement. Trying to change things at the last minute was always going to end badly.

While I am sure the PM will keep his pledge to always attend, it would be wise for the hosts to consider what responsibilities they have. Having the PM there is a privilege – not a right.

Waitangi Day for Honours?

February 5th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Year honours should be scrapped and replaced with Waitangi Day ones, Labour leader David Shearer says.

He wants New Zealanders to make more of a celebration of Waitangi Day – our national day.

“We should celebrate it properly. All over the world, countries celebrate their national day. Surely we have as much – or more – to celebrate as they do.”

Mr Shearer wanted to hear more people saying “Happy Waitangi Day”.

Yeah, like that is going to happen.

Don’t get me wrong. It would be wonderful if it could or did. It would also be wonderful to have rainbows appear in the sky without rain.

There’s a difference between optimism and naivety.

Too often Waitangi Day was defined by conflict and Mr Shearer said he was tired of it.

“While there are legitimate issues to debate for Maori and Pakeha alike, Waitangi Day should be the day where we focus on what we have to celebrate as a country.”

I just do not believe it will ever happen. Waitangi Day is always going to be a focus on the Treaty of Waitangi, and the differing views on that. It is not a unifying document like the US Declaration of Independence. This is because unlike the latter which is aspirational, the former is a major part of politics and law – which means almost by definition it is not unifying.

This is backed up by the UMR poll showing only 23% believe the Crown and Maori relationship is healthy.

I believe we should keep Waitangi Day and it remains a day to both celebrate the Treaty which is the founding document of New Zealand, and to debate the role of the Treaty in life today. So I do not advocate scrapping Waitangi Day, or turning it back into New Zealand Day.

What I do advocate is that we establish a separate New Zealand Day. This should be a day to unashamedly celebrate the wonderful country we all live in, our many achievements, ourselves. It should be the equivalent of US Independence Day, Australia Day or French Bastille Day – a day of fun and joy. There are 364 other days to focus on what divides us – but I want one day to focus on what unites us. And that day will never ever ever be Waitangi Day. It hasn’t been for the last 40 years, and it never will be.

So what day could we pick for a New Zealand Day? Possibilities are:

  • Passing of NZ Constitution Act 30 June (1852)
  • Dominion Day 26 September (1907)
  • Balfour Declaration 15 November (1926)
  • Day we adopted the Statute of Westminster 25 November (1947)
  • Full constitutional independence 10 December (1947)

Waitangi Day pub crawl

February 4th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

An estimated 4000 Kiwi revellers have marked Waitangi Day in London with the annual pub crawl around the city’s Circle underground line – and won police praise for it.

The event, marked in London for decades, began with a minute’s silence for Jacob Marx, 27, a Kiwi lawyer killed in London last week. He suffered fatal injuries when a sign outside a shop in North London’s Camden Rd fell on his head.

Young men then bared their chests in a chilly London for the traditional haka while others caroused in Kiwi-themed costumes, dressing as sheep, Marmite jars, Fred Dagg, EQC inspectors or Kim Dotcom.

Confronted with the spectacle, bemused Londoners took to Twitter. Alex Johnson wrote: “Kensington is overrun with thousands of Kiwis in sheep outfits. Apparently it’s the Waitangi Day Pub Crawl. Weird, but go #newzealand!”

Police looked forward to the annual celebrations, Inspector Bruce Middlemiss told 3news.

“The crowd have been fantastic, absolutely fantastic. There aren’t too many nations who can have 5000 people on a pub crawl and result in no arrests. It’s been extremely good-natured and New Zealand should be very proud of them, I think.”

Excellent. Kiwis do know how to have lots of fun but not be pillocks.

This is in marked contrast to last year when a Kiwi complained to the New Zealand high commission of being ashamed by the display of debauchery.

Actually it isn’t in contrast at all. The Police said almost the same thing last year. The only contrast was last year one lone person e-mailed in an inaccurate description of the pub crawl. It was later shown that he had said on Facebook that he intended to complain about the pub crawl before it had even occurred!

I recall this story because the Dom Post ran a massive front page story on the basis of this one inaccurate unsubstantiated complaint, and how by the end of the day their online version of the story had basically backed down on it as hundreds came forward to say it was well behaved – including the Police.

Waitangi Day

February 4th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

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!

Holmes on Waitangi Day

February 11th, 2012 at 1:49 pm by David Farrar

Paul Holmes writes in the HoS:

Waitangi Day produced its usual hatred, rudeness, and violence against a clearly elected Prime Minister from a group of hateful, hate-fuelled weirdos who seem to exist in a perfect world of benefit provision. This enables them to blissfully continue to believe that New Zealand is the centre of the world, no one has to have a job and the Treaty is all that matters.

I’m over Waitangi Day. It is repugnant. It’s a ghastly affair. As I lie in bed on Waitangi morning, I know that later that evening, the news will show us irrational Maori ghastliness with spitting, smugness, self-righteousness and the usual neurotic Maori politics, in which some bizarre new wrong we’ve never thought about will be lying on the table. …

Well, it’s a bullshit day, Waitangi. It’s a day of lies. It is loony Maori fringe self-denial day. It’s a day when everything is addressed, except the real stuff.

Never mind the child stats, never mind the national truancy stats, never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies. No, it’s all the Pakeha’s fault. It’s all about hating whitey. Believe me, that’s what it looked like the other day.

John Key speaks bravely about going there again. He should not go there again. It’s over. Forget it. It is too awful and nasty and common. It is no more New Zealand day than Halloween.

Our national day is now Anzac Day. Anzac Day is a day of honour, and struggle, bravery and sacrifice. A day on which we celebrate the periods when our country embraced great efforts for international freedom and on which we weep for those who served and for those who died.

Waitangi Day is an important day in terms of the treaty between the Crown (Government) and Maori. But it is not, and should not be, our national day.

John Roughan also writes on Waitangi Day. I’ve observed that Roughan tends to be fairly liberal on Maori and treaty issues generally, so that makes his column quite significant:

Protesters forget that Maori have to act in good faith too.

If you or I imagined we were plugged into the deepest yearnings of the people, raised our flag, stood for election and collected a miserable few votes, we’d probably fold our tent, slip away and revise our view of the world.

But we’re not that special breed of human life known as the protester. Votes don’t count for much in the protesters’ idea of democracy. The Mana Party came to Waitangi last weekend as though the election had never happened, or perhaps to say it didn’t matter.

Good faith is indeed required both ways.

Waitangi Day Pub Crawl in London

February 7th, 2012 at 9:05 am by David Farrar

Kate Newton at Stuff reports:

A urinating Waitangi Day mob of “drunk Kiwis wreaking alcohol-fuelled havoc on the streets of London” has sparked a complaint to the New Zealand High Commission.

Not sure what they can do about it.

It’s a rite of passage for thousands of young Kiwis on their great OE. But this year’s annual Waitangi Day London pub crawl has sparked derision and disgust.

Kiwi Dylan Clements says up to 1500 drunken New Zealanders took to the streets on Saturday in a shameful display of debauchery.

He has filed a complaint with New Zealand High Commissioner Derek Leask, saying their antics brought “great shame” on New Zealand.

Mr Clements, 28, said he watched participants urinating and vomiting on famous religious landmarks, including Westminster Abbey and the historic Jewel Tower, and exposing themselves indecently on the street.

Others sculled alcohol on the Tube, intimidated Londoners and assaulted Korean tourists with snowballs during the marathon boozing session.

But kiwis who attended the annual event say everyone was in good spirits, generally well behaved and respectful of police and other Londoners.

The Waitangi Day pub crawl is a fun tradition. However vomiting on Westminster Abbey is a no no, as is exposing yourself. If they occurred, they sounds like isolated incidents. You can take part in a pub crawl, get very merry, but still not be so “wasted” that you do such stupid stuff.

On a website set up to promote the pub crawl, Clint Heine said he met police before the event and they were present on the day to keep an eye on things.

He said he had received feedback from police saying there had been a “few minor hiccups” with litter and public urination, but it was expected.

Yesterday, on the pub crawl’s Facebook page, participants said police had told them they were a “well-behaved bunch”.

It sounds like Mr Clements may be over-egging things.

Krystle Field said it was the first time she had truly celebrated Waitangi Day and was proud to take part.

“At home it is such a negative day full of politics, protesting and drama and is just seen as another public holiday to many. In London it makes us all patriotic and we celebrate by dressing up in kiwiana costumes,” the 26-year-old said.

Well said.

It is interesting that Mr Clements was complaining about the pub crawl on Facebook, even before it had happened.

The media have all reported this as a major story, based on one person’s complaint. What is interesting is that the UK media (you know where it actually occurred) have run no negative stories at all on it. So the Police had no problem with it. The local media have only had good stories on it. Is the fact one person complains, meritorious of massive headlines in NZ?

Some photos from the pub crawl are here and here. Some great costumes. Even more here.

Harawira praises Key

February 6th, 2012 at 10:20 am by David Farrar

Well, this is surprising. The Herald reports:

Mr Harawira said he “hated to say it” but he admired Mr Key for choosing to be the “bigger man”.

“In my view he is to be respected, that in the face of opposition – some of it quite strident – he chooses to come back year after year.”

Key’s response is the right one, in my opinion also. The PM should be at Waitangi on Waitangi Day.

However I have been of the view for some time that we should have a New Zealand Day, as well as a Waitangi Day.

Not much mana in this

February 5th, 2012 at 1:22 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key and fellow politicians were verbally abused by protesters during ugly scenes at Waitangi this morning.

Protester Wi Popata heckled prominent Maori MPs at Te Tii Marae, calling Dr Pita Sharples, Te Ururoa Flavell and Hekia Parata “John Key’s niggers.”

Wi Popata is Hone Harawira’s nephew, and was convicted of assaulting John Key in 2009.

A question

February 6th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

How many protesters at Waitangi were not relatives of Hone Harawira? Any?

Between the extremes

February 6th, 2010 at 10:05 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key will use his Waitangi Day address this morning to tackle extremists on both sides of the race relations divide, saying they cynically damage the goodwill needed to put an end to grievance in New Zealand. …

His comments will target both sides – including Pakeha who believe the Treaty settlement process is a “gravy train” and that the price is too high, so past injustice should be ignored.

He will also tackle Maori extremists, describing them as those who promote a culture of entitlement and separatism, who believe colonisation entitles Maori to special treatment and whose sole objective is division.

I think the speech is necessary and overdue. However that does not mean it will automatically be effective.

In his speech at the marae yesterday, Mr Key discussed progress on Treaty settlements and said 2010 could be the year for a breakthrough on the foreshore and seabed. However, he said he needed to voice a note of caution that both sides had to compromise.

He also raised the 15 per cent Maori unemployment rate, saying improving education outcomes for Maori children would help address that.

I think improving education outcomes for Maori children is the most important thing that the Government can do. Except of course there is a limit to how much the Government can do by itself.

McCarten loves Key

February 8th, 2009 at 5:51 am by David Farrar

Okay, not quite loves John, but falls over himself with praise for his relationship with Maori:

Key’s behaviour at the Te Tii Marae on Thursday has shown New Zealand and its relationship with Maori has changed forever. The rush at him by a couple of individuals was also an opportunity for him. The embarrassment of his hosts was expected, as I’m sure they were when Clark and Brash were attacked.

But it seems Key really is different. He brushed off the incident, which you have to give him points for.

But he also promised Nga Puhi that the attack hadn’t put him off and that he’ll be back next year and the next and the next. It was brave, but very smart, too.

That one statement must have Labour freaking out. Maybe, just maybe, Key really is genuine when he says he wants to build a new relationship with Maori.

His inclusion of the Maori Party in his government when he didn’t have to, was clever politics.

But he genuinely seems to want to make it work. There seems to be a friendship between him and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

Even Key’s public statement that he supports having a Maori flag flown on Waitangi Day, not just on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, but on Government buildings, too, was astonishing. A Labour leader wouldn’t have ever dared to say that. Key has promised to fly a Maori flag next year.

Our Waitangi Day has always been marred by protest for good reason. Our national holiday has become an embarrassment to most New Zealanders.

It’s taken a white boy from Christchurch who has spent most of his adult life overseas to finally give us hope that just maybe we can finally be proud of our national day.

For our sake I hope he can. He’s made a great start.

High praise from McCarten.

Previewing Waitangi Day

February 4th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

AUT History Professor Paul Moon previews Waitangi Day:

Few people will miss the bad old days, when our national day was punctured by protests, revealing one of the less edifying sides of our country’s character.

Much of the new calmness that has descended on Waitangi Day can be attributed to John Key who, as Prime Minister-in-waiting, allayed fears about how a National Government would deal with Maori issues in general and who, on being elected, followed through with his commitment to inclusion by inviting the Maori Party to have a role in his administration.

It is due to this expected calm, that Taiuni’s Maori King is attending for the first time.

So now that the new age of co-operation has dawned, what is the future for the Treaty? The Government has made it clear that it is dedicated to a deadline for resolving historical claims, and so it is time to start looking to a post-Waitangi Tribunal era for the Treaty.

There will be some losers in this. A coterie of lawyers – fleshy-lipped from years of sucking healthy fees from the claims process – will be left looking elsewhere for sources of income. But it is unlikely that many people will evince much sympathy at their plight.

Personally I think 2014 to settle all outstanding claims may be overly ambitious, and won’t be surprised if it stretches out a bit beyond that. But I do expect that finally all claims will be settled between say 1990 and 2020.

The next challenge will be in considering whether the Treaty belongs in some formal constitution that will no doubt be devised in the next few decades (can I hear the sound of lawyers again rubbing their hands?).

This is a much more complex issue than it sounds, though. The Treaty of Waitangi was an agreement between two sovereign nations, and was not initially intended to serve as an internal constitutional document.

This is a critical point. It was, well a Treaty, not a constitution designed to be supreme law.  A constitution has to be voted on (well maybe not in Fiji but here) and accepted by either a super-majority of Parliament or by the people at large.

Someone once suggested that if you look at the United States, our Treaty of Waitangi is more akin to the Declaration of Independence (which has no legal standing) than the Constutition and Bill of Rights. The Declaration of Independence is an important founding document, but there is no constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness 🙂

Not that I am against any Constitution for NZ possibly having some recognition of the Treaty, but that is very different from just declaring the Treaty as part of the supreme law.

Waitangi Day and Google Earth

November 29th, 2008 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Maori Television has a nifty idea for Waitangi Day:

New Zealand’s national indigenous broadcaster, Maori Television, is putting out the call for all New Zealanders to come home for Waitangi Day 2009 but forget the planes, trains and automobiles you would usually rely on. This year, the only travel required will be in a virtual sense.

The broadcaster has created its own layer on Google Earth to collect messages from anywhere in the world devoted to the question: ‘Where on Google Earth will you be on Waitangi Day?’

Pictures, videos and text can all be uploaded into the page – from Aotearoa-New Zealand and beyond – to appear on the specially-created layer as a pin on the spinning globe. Anyone can upload material, ranging from a simple text message to photos, via Google’s photo sharing service, Picasa, or for the more tech-savvy among us, videos via YouTube.

‘Where on Google Earth will you be on Waitangi Day?’ is the question but also the concept that will underpin the channel’s broadcast dedicated to New Zealand’s national day, Waitangi Day, on Friday February 6 2009. The most inspiring, fun and heart-warming messages will be played throughout Maori Television’s programme, KOTAHI TE RA: WAITANGI DAY 2009.

“For anyone who has ever been away from home on our national day – or even if you’re at home but feeling that tug of national pride – this is the chance to connect to something special,” says Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather. “We believe this is something new and unique for an indigenous broadcaster, or indeed any broadcaster, to connect with its people via the internet.”

The technology used is essentially a specially-created layer visible on Google Earth which allows New Zealanders, their friends and families all around the world to create a message and load it into the space, marked by a map pin. “The beauty of the concept is its simplicity,” says Mr Mather. “It is easy to use, people can be as interactive as their abilities allow. It is all about the feeling.”

To see the short demonstration, or if you want to post a message, go to and follow the Google Earth link. Google Earth can be downloaded at

Nice to see innovative thinking at Maori TV. They provide by far the best ANZAC Day coverage, and I suspect will do the same with Waitangi Day.

And hey we’ll have a Prime Minister next year who isn’t afraid to spend Waitangi Day at Waitangi!