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Calls for the government to honour Te Tiriti following Kīngitanga national hui

26 January 2024

Interview by Rosetta Stone, adapted by Joel Armstrong

Author and Professor of Māori Studies at the University of Auckland, Margaret Mutu, who was in attendance at the recent hui-ā-iwi at Tūrangawaewae marae, says the government is required to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

A hui-ā-iwi (the meeting of iwi; a tribe) held at the Tūrangawaewae marae in Ngāruawāhia on 20 January, saw an estimated 10,000 Māori and non-Māori in attendance.

The hui, called by the Māori king, Kīngi Tūheitia, was held over concerns about the impact of the National-led government’s policy on Māori — particularly the government’s stance on co-governance and Te Tiriti. 

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Kīngi Tūheitia before the hui, but Luxon, ACT leader David Seymour, and NZ First leader Winston Peters did not attend the hui.

Author and Professor of Māori Studies at the University of Auckland, Margaret Mutu (Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whātua), who was in attendance at the hui over the weekend, told 95bFM’s The Wire that the hui-ā-iwi was about Māori making an action plan. 

“We talked about the fact that we were being vilified and demonised as a people; that there is a lot of hatred out there being channelled towards us and that we should not absorb that but rise above it.”

“The main thing that came out was that we would never listen to anyone who tells us we can't be Māori anymore. Because that's the very clear message coming out from this government.”

Mutu emphasises that Te Tiriti is the founding constitutional document of Aotearoa and that the preceding parent document, He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni, recognised Māori sovereignty.

She says the government does not have the capability to dictate what Māori can and cannot do, citing that Te Tiriti guaranteed Māori tino rangatira (independence).

“Under Te Tiriti, we were guaranteed our own tino rangatiratanga, our own mana to make decisions about our own lives, and to be who we are without any interference from anyone.”

With Rātana pā, and Waitangi Day; two significantly important events for Māori, also taking place this month and next month, Mutu hopes the government reflects on their plans, and honours Te Tiriti.

“Many politicians in the past have taken huge offence to being told that they are not honouring the treaty. But this is a message that has been delivered government after government.”

“They are very clear, truthful messages about how Māoridom are feeling about what the government has done to us. And it's up to the people how they deliver that message.”

Mutu says that her iwi of Ngati Kahu is calling on Pākehā and Tauiwi allies to demand that the government uphold what was promised in Te Tiriti.

"We want Pākehā, non-Māori, to stand in the front line and say to the government, this is not the way to treat the mana whenua of this country, the Māori people; the indigenous people of this country."

Listen to the full interview

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air