19 Aug 2014

PM pays tribute to Kingitanga movement

8:10 pm on 19 August 2014

Prime Minister John Key and a group of parliamentarians were among the guests welcomed on to Turangawaewae Marae today during the coronation celebrations for the Maori king.

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Prime Minister John Key Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The annual koroneihana (coronation) commemorations in Ngaruawahia bring iwi who support the kingitanga together.

Dignitaries from throughout New Zealand and overseas also make a special visit to King Tuheitia.

It is also a time for Waikato-Tainui tribes to come together in unity and celebrate what it means to be from that iwi.

John Key said the Maori kingship movement was an important part of New Zealand's history.

He said the movement emerged in the 1850s as a sign of unity for Maori.

Mr Key said he believed his Government had made great progress for tangata whenua, which he mentioned later in his speech to King Tuheitia on the marae this afternoon.