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Maori Leader Supports MP's stand at Powhiri

Media Release 12 May 2006

Maori Leader Supports National MP’s stand at Powhiri

Ngapuhi leader David Rankin has come out in support of Judith Collins’ decision to sit in the front row during a recent Powhiri and critical of the kaumatua who challenged her.

‘Traditionally’, says Mr. Rankin, ‘Powhiri were used to ascertain the character of unknown visitors to a marae. Ms. Collins was acting exactly in accordance with Maori tikanga by displaying herself as a significant person, as any MP is. Anyone who would challenge her right to sit at the front does not understand Maori culture properly’.

Mr. Rankin believes that the treatment Ms. Collins and other women receive at state-funded powhiri is wrong: ‘We spend hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars every year on these powhiri, and they discriminate against half of the country’s population. I am left wondering who the Government is scared of, and why they don’t step in to end this discrimination. It reflects poorly on the Government and on those Maori who participate in the discrimination’.


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