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Muriel meeting uproar

25 May 2005

Muriel meeting uproar

Act list MP Muriel Newman bit off more than she could chew, in a public meeting last night, on the naming of Whangarei's maunga.

A packed room at Forum North saw a sea of mainly elderly white faces surrounded by tangata whenua, and both camps were equally passionate.

The karakia opening the meeting was interrupted by calls from the audience to stop, or speak in English.

Mrs Newman limited the meeting to an hour, from the outset, which upset many who had travelled long distances.

Te Parawhau kaumatua Te Ihi Tito, unfazed by Mrs Newman's consistent mispronunciation of Parawhau, spoke of the reasons for the move to correct the name to Parihaka, followed by a planner, who explained that the wrong spelling, had at least been consistently wrong, in the paper trail.

Mrs Newman sez the Geographic Board has wrongly categorised the change as a spelling error, and wants the process to start again from scratch.

But after several speeches from the audience, her attempt to put a motion to that effect, was pre-empted by a walkout by angry Pakeha, after accusations that the meeting had been rigged.


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