2 Feb 2024

Tama Potaka scolded for joking about David Seymour's hapū

1:24 pm on 2 February 2024
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and government ministers at the Iwi Leaders Forum on Friday morning.

Minister for Māori-Crown Relations Tama Potaka next to ACT leader David Seymour, alongside other government ministers. Photo: Anneke Smith/RNZ

Crown representatives have been welcomed to the National Iwi Chairs Forum in Kerikeri, ahead of Waitangi Day.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, ACT leader David Seymour and New Zealand First deputy leader Shane Jones arrived at the Turner Centre with a contingent of Crown ministers on Friday.

The group was welcomed with a whakatau (official welcome) before being seated as manuhiri (guests) across from representatives of more than 74 iwi groups.

The NICF is the pre-eminent grouping of New Zealand's indigenous leaders that meet ahead of every Waitangi Day to discuss issues affecting Māori.

The hui, between NICF and the Crown, has now been closed to reporters but the media were allowed to observe opening remarks.

Minister for Māori-Crown Relations Tama Potaka spoke for the government and got a few laughs from the crowd when he referred to Jones as the Crown's representative from Croatia.

Potaka went on to joke Seymour was the Crown's representative from Ngāti Rēhia (a hapū of Ngāpuhi) before he was interrupted by Kipa Munro, who stood to tell him to stop.

Ngāti Rēhia is Seymour's hapū.

Munro told the crowd whatever Māori may think of Seymour or his policies, no one could take away the fact he is a descendant of Ngāti Rēhia.

NICF co-chair Rahui Papa said this year's Waitangi celebrations would be focused on He Whakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence and Te Tiriti, the Treaty of Waitangi.

"So it will be those two founding documents that will be the basis really of all of our discussions, any arrangements and relationships will be based on those two founding documents."

Concerns around health, education, the economy and climate change would also be part of the discussions this week, he said.

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