Kīngi Tūheitia issues call for national hui for unity

9:12 am on 6 December 2023
King Tuheitia opens the Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award exhibition at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.

File photo. Kīngi Tūheitia is to host a national hui for unity. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Kīngi Tūheitia is to host a national hui for unity next month in a bid to bring together the many voices of Māori.

In a statement, a spokesperson said many Māori were strongly opposed to the government's statements on the Treaty of Waitangi which could undermine decades of hard fought justice.

The statement said Kīngi Tūheitia received a clear message from many rangatira across the country after the 165th anniversary of the birth of the Kiingitanga movement.

Kiingitanga chief of staff Ngira Simmonds said there was a lot of divisive rhetoric during the election campaign which was being felt by many New Zealanders - both Māori and non-Māori.

"There's strong opposition to the government's statements on the Treaty of Waitangi which could undermine decades of hard-fought justice and equality for our nation.

The affirmation of Mana Motuhake has been the driving force of the Kiingitanga for 165 years, he said.

"I think the pursuit of unity, the pursuit of kotahitanga, is one that the Kiingitanga has tried to uphold and live and and show in a tangible way for over 165 years," Simmonds told Morning Report. "It's not a new song for us. It might be new for others who are hearing this, but it's been something we've been all about for quite a long time.

"It's an opportunity for Māori to come together to share in a space where our tikanga, our cultural values, our cultural understandings guide and empower conversation and deep thought. There is a further aspiration and a further hope that in doing this we can also find unity for the entire nation, because we're also very realistic that that's the only way we will find satisfaction and hope for everybody. "

The call for a national hui comes after protests took place in a range of cities on Tuesday morning with the backing of Te Pāti Māori. The National Action Day was in response to a raft of policies announced last week by the new National-led coalition on co-governanace and the Treaty of Waitangi

The hui would be held at Turangawaewae Marae on 20 January and Kīngi Tūheitia would then carry the mauri of the hui into the annual Ratana and Waitangi Day celebrations.

"Kīngi Tuhetia believes that the mauri, the essence and the life force, of this kaupapa he is creating needs to travel the country to get its greatest authenticity," Simmonds said.

"I certainly hope that the nation can see and understand why so many, not all, but so many of Te Iwi Māori have a suspicion about governance, because it's not dealt kindly to us."

Governments for at least the past 50 years had promised to deliver for Māori but there were still disparities in health, education, life expectancy and income, he said.

"So I acknowledge the goodwill of the government but equally it's not working. We're realistic about that - we can see it's not working.

"What we're wanting to do is come to the table with solutions and a way forward. And I think particularly, what I highly expect will come from the hui is a plea to continue to work with us, and its hard to see that manifesting in some of the plans at the moment."

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