Leftist Maori commentator says Seymour's idea to take Treaty celebrations away from Waitangi 'makes sense'

Morgan Godfery: publicity stunt?

Should Treaty celebrations be hosted by a different iwi each year?

Yes
93%
No
7%
Total votes: 475

David Seymour's call to "tour" the Treaty has found favour with left-wing Maori commentator and trade unionist Morgan Godfery — although the activist is cynical the ACT leader will follow through.

The plan has also won backing from AUT history professor Paul Moon, who says it would help avoid political stand-offs such as Prime Minister Bill English's boycott of this year's celebration after Te Tii refused to give him a speaking slot.

Currently, Treaty celebrations are held each Waitangi Day at Ngāpuhi's Te Tii Marae in the Bay of Islands.

"Te Tii Marae’s continued failure to respectfully host the government on Waitangi Day should prompt the Prime Minister to visit a different marae each year," Mr Seymour says.

“The behaviour of a small group of perpetually-grumpy activists has turned Waitangi Day into an annual political circus, denying Kiwis a national day we can all enjoy.

“It's never been clear why one iwi gets to monopolise the celebrations, the Epsom MP says. The Treaty wasn’t just signed at Waitangi, it went on tour and was signed by chiefs all over the country.

“If an iwi is going to host representatives of the Crown to symbolise this 177-year-old relationship, why not rotate the host iwi and location? It could be in a different place each year, perhaps following the path that the Treaty took during 1840?," he asks.

“Ngāpuhi activists have denied the whole country a proud national day a few times too many. Let’s take this show on the road. There were 20-odd signing locations so it'll return to Te Tii Marae in around 2037," Mr Seymour says.

“A bit of competition among locations might help to lift standards of behaviour, bringing some dignity and joy back to this special day.”

'Makes sense'
Mr Godfery — by no means a natural ally — is open to the ACT leader's idea.

"It's Interesting," the Maori commentator says. "His attack on 'Ngāpuhi activists' is a cheap shot, but the idea of taking Treaty celebrations on the road makes sense. The Treaty was signed across the country, after all."

He does temper his praise with a note of cynicism, however.

"I hope Seymour puts his press release into action and raises the idea at his next meeting with the Prime Minister. I'd hate to think this is just a publicity stunt," he says.

And indeed, Mr Seymour made the same call this time last year in an op-ed for the Sunday Star Times.

So did he do anything about it?
Did Mr Seymour take his "Waitangi tour" concept to the Prime Minister after that piece was published?, NBR inquired this morning.

"Yes but he went and resigned," Mr Seymour replied.

Before he exited stage left, did John Key was open to the idea?

"Well he didn’t do it, so no," Mr Seymour said.

He added, "I haven't formally met Prime Minister English yet. I will do when he’s back — but it will be too late for this year."

The ACT leader can try, but given the calculus of MMP any change would likely have to be initiated by the Maori Party.

History prof also gives it the nod
Earlier today, Mr English said he would not attend celebrations at Waitangi after being denied speaking rights by the Te Tii Marae committee.

AUT history professor Paul Moon says moving celebrations from Waitangi could help avoid future stand-offs.

"Other marae don’t have any problem with the prime minister speaking," he says.

Dr Moon says Waitangi will aways have special status as the place where the first signatures were added to the treaty, but he adds that other iwi in other areas also regard their role in the signing process as special.


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15 Comments & Questions

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This sounds more like the ACT party I could vote for. If Seymour doesn't push ACT into joke territory again then we might be able to get a second person in.

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Thanks, but we're aiming a little higher than that :)

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Well, why not select and start parading your list candidates asap?

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Maybe Act could apply their goals of smaller government and less red tape to the property market. Then they will pick up votes from those who are locked out of home ownership. And those who are being stung with high rents. Who would instead vote for far left or anti establishment parties.

But we all know that Epson voters don't want the free market to work when it comes to land development. Or wage rates for unskilled labour. As that would mean the benefits of a strong economy will trickle down to the lower classes.

Government control of unskilled labour rates via immigration. And property prices via planning rules. Suits the elites just fine.

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David's idea would also lead to the money that these Wantangi leadership bludgers get, to be shared around.
Free money is the curse.
Stop the money and you stop the nonsense.

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"It's never been clear why one iwi gets to monopolise the celebrations."

Except that Waitangi is not just a Treaty, it's also a place? And sure, the document 'toured' the country afterward, but the significance of 7 February is that is when the Treaty was first signed - at Waitangi.

Unrelated note as well - it really does show how much National thinks ACT is worth their time that the Prime Minister took office almost a month ago and Seymour still hasn't had a meeting with him. It's understandable though, given ACT hasn't given anything constructive to the country in many years, with maybe the exception of charter schools.

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Here is a unique idea, NO visits to any Marae. Why do we have to do this? Sometimes looking across the ditch to how your neighbour celebrates then across the pacific for a look at Thanksgiving or July 04. Each is a holiday with symbolism that suits that country, we don’t suit the constant infighting on Ti Tii every Waitangi day.

There is nothing wrong with the festivities and celebrations on the upper Marae and if people wish to go there fantastic but it should not have to be government protocol nor compulsory for the PM & GG or any official party to attend. It should be at their own free wish. Kingi Taurua said this morning on ZB that PM should come to our parliament, (Ti Tii) but we can go to his. This is where to problem is: We can all go to OUR parliament, no matter your skin colour or ethnicity, but we cannot all go to Ti Tii nor can we speak there.
Taurua said the treaty is a partnership, but its hard to believe him when his ilk throw their toys when they don’t get what they want.

Teach the treaty in schools, Yes, make sure all New Zealanders understand the significance, YES, but do not let it override common decency and nor should it override our celebration as a country and a people. Touring the treaty will do none of this, it will only exacerbate the problem that exists today

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"Each is a holiday with symbolism that suits that country, we don’t suit the constant infighting on Ti Tii every Waitangi day."

You're right on the first bit - the holidays of those other countries suit those other countries. But you're wrong on the second bit. The angst and introspection does suit us - the darkly moodier, the better. We're not Australia and we're not America. I think our way is great - for us.

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While there is little evidence that their is such a thing a right wing party or even a right centre party in New Zealand. Act has always seemed like an extreme left wing front exploiting a few useful idiots like Brash, Douglas and Richardson. Despite the claims of Matthew Hooton National was established as a party to represent the individual and women the opposite of its current position as a conservative country and populist party which has abandoned most of the key ingedients of the Lange and Palmers governments reforms. The current government is deeply interventionist and swayed by uninformed opinion. For most of its history National did maintain a largely right centre position the erosion happened under Muldoon and Bill English who's core position are catholic socialism and country conservatism. Unlike Hooton, I feel Jenny Shipley was a much more authentic leader of the party of the individual and market. Ruth Richarson simply represented an exercised in half baked extemism of little value and consequence. Act could often be placed as the most left wing party and the Greens in policy, ideology and parliamentary membership as a very conservative party the only party actually interested in the statistical cost and damage. Touring the treaty will be pretty disruptive anwhere in the North Island it should be quite a spectacle so to any genuine liberal, Seymours suggestion is nothing but glorious irresponsibility and troublemaking

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If you are a visitor to a marae, you abide by their kawa. It is their marae, their protocol and culture. it is not for ANY visitor to impose their rules or protocols on to the marae.

Kawa varies between marae. Some do not allow women to speak and that kawa has been respected even by Governors-General.

Parliament is for all New Zealanders. A marae is for its local iwi or hapu.

A better understanding would go a long way.

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In other words you make it all up as you go along.
If you can not respect the elected Government wherever they are and in particular wherever they have been invited....then you deserve the lack of respect the rest of New Zealand will give you.
Maori have no different rights than the rest of us and it is about time thge rest of us enforced that notion.

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That's completely ridiculous and shows no understanding whatsoever. It is the Government that is showing no respect for its hosts and is imposing take it or leave it conditions.

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If it's for local iwi or hapu why does anyone else need to go there?

So you are simply wrong. If you want any visitors you have to respect their needs too. Manners 101.

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Nobody else does need to go there. But if you don't feel you need to respect the protocol of your hosts and I adopted your point of view, please understand that if I turned up at your place, I would do what I wanted while there.

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I don't understand Alan how you can be so adamant. The Prime Minister's Office is the one saying you must do this or we won't turn up.

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