Waitangi: Everyone 'singing from the same songsheet'

by Chris Bramwell / 05 February, 2018

The government being being welcomed onto Kāretu Marae in Waitangi late last week. Photo / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Prime Minister to speak from the porch of the whare rūnanga today - a first for a female prime minister.

The Prime Minister is half-way through her extended stay in Waitangi and will this morning be formally welcomed at Te Whare Rūnanga Marae on the treaty grounds.

Jacinda Ardern's five-day visit is the longest any Prime Minister has made to Waitangi. She has said she wanted to ensure strong, open transparent relationships with Māori.

Ms Ardern rejected suggestions from reporters she was on a charm offensive, saying she and her caucus felt the weight of expectation from te ao Māori.

"That when we were voted in and specifically when those MPs - through hard work - won those Māori seats, we took with us a lot of hope and expectation about practical things: creating jobs, decent housing, lifting families out of poverty. So, yes we feel that expectation."

Ms Ardern will speak from the porch of the whare rūnanga during the formal welcome this morning - a first for a female prime minister.

Ngāpuhi elder Pita Paraone said the kōrero at Governor-General Patsy Reddy's pōwhiri yesterday was cordial and humble, and he expected the same for Ms Ardern.

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern with senior MPs. Photo / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

"Everyone was singing from the same songsheet and I think it's an indication of people having had enough of what's happened in recent years and so wanting to ensure this year - having the ceremonies return to the treaty grounds - that everything was on song."

National Party leader Bill English will spend Waitangi Day at the other end of the country at Te Rau Aroha Marae in Bluff, attending Ngāi Tahu's treaty commemoration hui.

The National Party will be represented at this morning's pōwhiri with a delegation of 12 MPs, including senior MP Steven Joyce and Whangārei MP, Shane Reti.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

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