Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Te Tii: Maori Circus

It's never a dull moment at Waitangi for New Zealand Day, when the nation's bigwigs gather to spew platitudes… or to hear how certain ethnicities feel sooooo hard done by.
Today, it's 'maori welcomes' time on the lower marae at Te Tii, with official celebrations at the Treaty House tomorrow. There'll be the usual diatribes from rabid radicals like the Popata bros (nephews of Hone Harawira), who generally only raise their venomous heads when tv cams point their way.
Maori cling-on...
Today though, expect tribal tiffs at Te Tii…after moves to oust Titewhai Harawira (Hone's mum) from her role of escorting the Prime Munster on to the lower marae. Harawira, long-time activist and foul mouth, is a divisive figure even among her own Ngapuhi people. In 2011, Te Tii Marae's board threatened to ban her, accusing her of being a bully and breaching maori protocol. Ngapuhi trustees decided this year it was time for a change: they don't want Titewhai to escort visitors on to the marae.
Elder Kingi Taurua says the trustees have appointed their own "kuia of esteem" to escort Key on to the marae. But he delicately said Harawira went "ape shit" when given the news! She herself has no doubt over who'll do the job: "There is no confusion. It lowers my mana to even respond to something that isn't true." In other words, it'll be HER.
Harawira's role as self-appointed prime ministerial escort at Waitangi has bugged marae elders in the past - in 2009, they tried to replace her with Nellie Rata, widow of the late esteemed Matiu Rata. But as Key arrived, Harawira physically elbowed her out of the way!
To make things difficult, the trustees either didn't have the balls – or were too scared - to demand Harawira stand down. All they've said is that they've put forward their own honourable lady, and she'll be there. But the poisoned dwarf's said, no f***ing way!
With the interesting prospect of TWO escorts for the PM, expect fireworks and serious loss of mana today…as Titewhai once again shows her true colours. These days, we're used to seeing a maori circus at Waitangi. So enjoy your ringside seat!!!
Update: The bully has got her way...again!

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