16 Aug 2018

Media banned from Māori King's koroneihana celebrations

5:24 pm on 16 August 2018

Media have been banned from the grounds of Tūrangawaewae Marae at Ngaruawahia for the anniversary celebration of Māori King's koroneihana or coronation this weekend.

060814. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. Maori King Tuheitia Paki at the Ranana marae in Whanganui.

Media will not be attending Kingi Tūheitia's coronation celebrations this weekend at Tūrangawaewae Marae. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Tūrangawaewae Marae spokesperson Moko Templeton said it was the first time such a ban had been imposed.

Media would still have access to the event through a live stream, and Ms Templeton stuck by the decision not to allow media at Tūrangawaewae.

Ms Templeton said the marae was concerned that the media would not focus on the kaupapa of the koroneihana anniversary - the 12th such celebration for Kingi Tūheitia.

"Has there been a media ban in the past from coronation? No, there hasn't," she said.

"I think it's a good decision because our role is to manaaki (support) the people who come to the footstill of the Kīngitanga being Tūrangawaewae Marae."

Ms Templeton said she expected thousands of people to descend on Tūrangawaewae for koroneihana celebrations.

The koroneihana is a long held cultural celebration of the Kīngitanga, which includes kapa haka and sports.

Kingi Tūheitia is expected to give his speech on the final day of koroneihana celebrations next Tuesday.

Controversy around Maori King's office

The Māori king and his office have been thrown into spotlight this week after Tukoroirangi Morgan attacked the misspending of iwi money by Rangi Whakaruru.

In the letter Mr Morgan said Kingi Tūheitia was a "puppet" king and his strings were being pulled by Mr Whakaruru.

The Māori King's office the Ururangi Trust is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Mr Morgan said more than $100,000 had been spent on perfume, beauty treatments and clothes - all paid for by the King's trust.

He also claimed Mr Whakaruru had a $250,000 paypacket, took out big loans and bought expensive cars.

Ms Templeton said she understood the King's office would not be making any comment until the SFO investigation report came out.

"So we've just left that issue with them and back here at the marae at the home of the Kīngitanga we're getting ready to host the thousands we're expecting to arrive tommorow."

RNZ has been in contact with Tukoroirangi Morgan who said he would not comment on his letter until he was back from overseas.

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