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Turia quells heightened media speculations

Tariana Turia, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru

Co-leader, Maori Party

Wednesday 25 January 2006

To quell the heightened speculations and media frenzy about the Maori Party presence at Ratana celebrations, the parliamentary office has released a statement which revealed the scheduling changes in the lead-up to yesterday’s powhiri were requested by Ratana organisers.

“Out of respect for the paepae and the mana of those who hosted us, the Maori Party agreed to the invitation from Ratana organisers to come together as manuhiri” stated Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

“We can not see why anyone should make so much ado about nothing” suggested Mrs Turia. “It is absolutely usual practice for any groups arriving at a marae to come on together for the process of powhiri”.

“Indeed, it is usually considered bad manners for groups to straggle on or to refuse an invitation to be called on” stated Mrs Turia.

The Maori Party Members of Parliament were originally scheduled to be welcomed at Ratana at 12.30pm on Tuesday. It is understood that the National Party was to be welcomed at 12pm and the Labour Party at 1pm.

The Maori Party Members of Parliament had arrived early at Ratana at 10.30am on Tuesday in order to first visit the Temple, Te Temepara Tapu o Ihoa. When approached by their Ratana hosts, they had agreed to the request for a joint powhiri for both the Maori Party and the National Party.

“For a Labour MP to suggest that the Maori Party was escorting Satan on to the marae is an affront to the Ratana Church and to all Christians, and will no doubt be another comment that will linger long after that MP has left Parliament”.

“We were also saddened that the Minister of Maori Affairs and the Prime Minister have played politics by condemning what the people at Ratana had arranged in asking the Maori Party and National to be welcomed together”.

“Such mud-slinging has absolutely no place in Ratana - or indeed any marae or powhiri” stated Mrs Turia.

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