Statement from David Rankin
As confusion builds over who will lead the Prime Minister on to Waitangi, Ngapuhi leader David Rankin has said that the actions of Titewhai Harawira are “culturally inept.”
Mr Rankin, who is head of the Matarahurahu hapu – the hapu of Hone Heke, the first chief to sign the Treaty – says that it is culturally utterly wrong for someone who belongs to a marae to be welcomed on to it. “Titewhai has no clue what she is doing. Her culture is based around media coverage and radicalism, not what is true Mari tikanga. To be welcomed on to your own marae as a guest goes completely against our culture.”
“There are plenty of kuia from other areas who could fulfil that role and come on with John Key as a guest. That is the correct protocol,” says Mr Rankin. “Maori across the country, as well as those in Ngapuhi, laugh every time the Te Tii marae embarrasses itself by throwing out its protocols because they feel threatened by the Harawira’s stand-over tactics.”.
Mr Rankin warns that if Titewhai tries to bully her way in as she has in the past,” there will be total chaos at Waitangi this year, and this may even erupt into violence with Maori pitted against Maori.”
“For people like myself and Sonny Tau, who have worked hard behind the scenes for Ngapuhi unity, this will be a major setback.”