20 Aug 2022

PM at Kīngitanga Turangawaewae: We must embrace working together

5:16 pm on 20 August 2022

The prime minister says co-governance arrangements are not something to be feared, and described them as key to upholding Treaty of Waitangi obligations.

Former Minister of Māori Affairs Koro Wētere was buried today at a family urupā near Te Kuiti. His body has been lying in state at Tūrangawaewae Marae since Saturday, when he died, a day after his 83rd birthday. His tūpāpaku will be taken to Ōparure Marae before being buried at a whānau urupā.

Dignitaries have been ushered onto Turangawaewae marae in Ngāruawāhia today, to mark the Kīngitanga movement's annual koroneihana ceremony. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Jacinda Ardern led the leaders of all political parties except Act onto the Māori Kingi Movement's Turangawaewae marae in Waikato this morning.

The Kīngitanga koroneihana ceremony is the movement's biggest event of the year, and celebrates the organisation's head.

Addressing the koroneihana ceremony for Kīngi Tūheitia, Ardern said the government was doing what it could to uphold commitments.

Using a bridge as an analogy for partnership, Ardern said it was up to political leaders to take people along.

"It is key that as leaders we demonstrate what it is to finally - as Māori have always done - cross over the bridge too.

"That means that we need to stop telling people that the bridge is on fire, crossing that bridge is not something to fear, it is something to embrace. But for that, there is work to do."

Ardern said she was most proud of introducing the compulsory teaching of New Zealand history in schools and the new Matariki public holiday.

Meanwhile, the National Party leader said he wanted to work closely with iwi and that involved some devolution.

Christopher Luxon was also in Ngāruawāhia this morning, and he was challenged on the atea by some Māori leaders over the National Party's opposition to co-governance arrangements.

But Luxon said National had worked well with Māori in the past and he was keen to talk.

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