21 Aug 2014

Closer ties with Maoridom - Labour

8:26 pm on 21 August 2014

As the Maori king's coronation celebrations wrap up today, the Labour leader David Cunliffe says if his party wins the general elections next month it promises to have a stronger relationship with the kingitanga and with Maoridom.

David Cunliffe is welcomed at Ratana Pa.

Labour leader David Cunliffe is welcomed to Ratana Pa earlier in 2014. Photo: RNZ

Mr Cunliffe was among a large group of MPs who were welcomed to Turangawaewae Marae earlier this week to attend the annual koroneihana commemorations for King Tuheitia.

The event, which attracts iwi from across the motu to Ngaruawahia, demonstrates their support for the Maori kingship movement which emerged in the 1850s as a symbol of unity.

On this day in 2006 Tuheitia Paki ascended the throne following the death of his mother, Te Arikinui Dame Te Ataairangikaahu, who had reigned for 40 years from 23 May 1966.

The leader of the opposition, David Cunliffe, said the kingitanga was an important part of New Zealand's history.

"It's fundamental to an incoming Labour government to have strong and deep relationships with all iwi," he said.

"The kingitanga has a special place in New Zealand's history and in its heart."

Throughout the week, thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world attended the koroneihana including Polynesian aristocracy from Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Not all iwi including Ngapuhi and Ngati Porou acknowledge King Tuheitia as a "Maori monarch" as such, but most tribes send representatives or their leaders to attend the ceremony.

Iwi that do have close affiliations with the kingitanga movement include Tuwharetoa, Whanganui, Taranaki, and Waikato-Tainui.

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