3 Feb 2013

Ousting Titewhai at Waitangi no easy task

10:05 pm on 3 February 2013

Ngapuhi trustees are trying to oust Titewhai Harawira, from her self-appointed role as the kuia who escorts dignitaries, including the prime minister, onto the lower marae at Waitangi.

But they are concerned Mrs Harawira may disrupt ceremonies if she is not allowed to keep her role.

Ngapuhi leader Kingi Taurua said the trustees have decided that other kuia should be given the opportunity to be part of the Waitangi celebrations.

Mr Taurua said that unlike Mrs Harawira, other kuia work hard on the marae and should be rewarded for their work.

He said the trustees are very concerned at how Mrs Harawira will take the decision and are yet to appoint another kuia as others are afraid of her reaction.

Mrs Harawira declined to respond to Mr Taurua's comments, saying she did not want to cause disharmony among Ngapuhi.

Drama at Waitangi wouldn't surprise PM

Prime Minister John Key said he would not be surprised if there is drama at Waitangi this week.

Mr Key said he doesn't know who will be escorting him onto the marae.

He said it is a matter for local iwi and he wouldn't be surprised if there was drama, but he hopes there won't be.

"The whole aim of Waitangi Day is to show New Zealanders that it's a day of celebration, it's a day you know we came together as two peoples to form one country and I think that gets a bit undermined when you have the skirmishes on the lower marae."