Māori King Kiingi Tuheitia, along with an entourage from his iwi Waikato Tainui, were in the High Court at Auckland today to listen to evidence being presented on an overlapping treaty claims case.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei lodged the case in February challenging the Crown's overlapping claims policy and the Marutuahu Collective's claim to land in the Tamaki Makaurau area.
The Kiingitanga said its presence was not a protest or a show of support for one iwi over the other, but rather a stance to show its relationship to all iwi with connections in Tamaki.
"The actual invitation came to hear some of those hononga, some of those linkages between the Kiingitanga and some of whanaunga in Tamaki Makaurau, notwithstanding Ngāti Whātua and our people within Tamaki Makaurau in general," the Kiingitanga said in a statement.
"Today was a chance to come, to show and to reaffirm the linkages of the Kiingitanga with all of our whānau in Tamaki."
When asked who offered the invitation, Rāhui Papa told RNZ: "Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki issued the invite and the Kiingitanga responded to all Whanaunga iwi".
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has been presenting their evidence over the last 10 weeks and deputy chairperson Ngarimu Blair was in attendance today and said his people had committed to the process.
"We told our people it's a marathon, we've said there will be some things they won't like hearing but at the end of the day this is a last resort," Blair said.
"We have a strong relationship with the Kiingitanga ... we think our relationship will see us through, despite the ups and downs of the Crown's treaty settlement process."