The Northern Advocate, Whangarei
Ngapuhi considers Waitangi day protest if TPP signed
By Mikaela Collins
20 January 2016
A Ngapuhi elder is threatening to block the Government from Te Tii Marae on Waitangi Day if the Trans Pacific Partnership is signed, saying the signing is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be reportedly signed in New Zealand on February 4. Andres Rebolledo, director general of Chile’s International Economic Relations Bureau, reportedly confirmed the date in a meeting with the country’s National Human Rights Institute, before officials were ready for the announcement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed an event will be held in Auckland in early February. Prime Minister John Key was unavailable to comment on Mr Taurua’s threat at edition time yesterday.
Kingi Taurua, Ngapuhi kaumatua, said, if the document was signed it would be wrong if the Government turned up to Waitangi Day a few days later, and is considering blocking them from Te Tii Marae.
"This meeting is two-faced. They sign away our sovereignty and they wouldn’t tell us everything that is in it which is what Te Tiriti o Waitangi is all about, it’s undermining the document."
He said Maori had protested the secrecy of the TPP negotiations and many had filed claims with the Waitangi Tribunal alleging the deal was a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.
"For me, the first and most important thing is the Treaty. I believe [the TPP] is a breach of the document. Maori have been left out, the Treaty was a partnership between two people but it appears we have been left out."
Mr Taurua said he has proposed to block the Government from coming on to Te Tii Marae on Waitangi Day as it would be a disingenuous visit.
"That is what was in my mind," he said "Why come to Waitangi and talk about the founding document when you don’t honour it. They’re playing games with Ngapuhi."
He said he would be holding a hui at Te Tii Marae on February 4 to discuss the option of preventing the Government from coming on to Te Tii Marae on Waitangi Day.
Mr Taurua said there was a lot of anger in Ngapuhi towards the Crown. It is not the first time this year Mr Taurua has said the Government may be blocked from Te Tii Marae on Waitangi Day. Mr Taurua was considering closing the marae following Archive New Zealand’s refusal to send the Treaty of Waitangi home to be displayed at the new Museum of Waitangi for opening exhibitions.
"Te Tiriti doesn’t belong in Wellington, it belongs with its people and now we have a place where we can have it. We’re told they cannot allow it because it is too fragile to travel but there are many other old documents that go around the world," he said. "There’s a lot of ill-feeling. Some feel it would be better to throw [the Treaty] it into the sea and feed it to the fish and follow the Declaration of Independence signed in 1835."