7 Feb 2017

Waitangi commemorations embroiled in turmoil

From Morning Report, 6:09 am on 7 February 2017

Bill English says he didn't shy away from tough topics during his conversation with US President Donald Trump.

Calls to move Waitangi Day commemorations away from Te Tii marae are gaining traction after the weekend's turmoil.

Marae trustees had demanded a 10-thousand dollar fee from media organisations to cover events -- none paid the money and attempts to film politicians going on to the marae were blocked.

But the chairperson of the Waitangi National Trust Board, Pita Paraone, says he does not accept everyone else was to blame and says there's a growing feeling in the north Te Tii marae should not be part of official celebrations.

The New Zealand First leader Winston Peters refused to go on to Te Tii Marae on Sunday after a security guard demanded he move while being interviewed outside the marae gate.

Winston Peters at Te Tii Marae in a standoff with officials.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Mr Peters backs senior Waitangi leaders who say behaviour by the trustees of Te Tii marae has got out of hand, but says given the marae's role in history a way should be found for it to remain on the Waitangi Day commemoration calendar.