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'I'm here to give a speech and have a discussion': Don Brash arrives at Waitangi, hints at controversial speech

Former National leader Don Brash was greeted at Waitangi with a hand shake from Te Tii marae forum organiser Reuben Taipari rather than mud this year, but warns his speech may rub some people the wrong way.

Upon arriving, Mr Brash told media at a stand-up he was very impressed by the fact he'd been invited to the event, but that he wasn't sure what the reaction to his speech would be.

Organiser Mr Taipari told TVNZ1's Breakfast yesterday, Mr Brash may be dismissed by many of his whānau as "the most racist politician in the country", but the controversial former party leader was invited to Te Tii marae anyway because it will be a "learning exercise". 

"I accept most invitations to speak and this one was particularly significant, I thought, the chance to come back to Waitangi, " Mr Brash said. "As is well-know I had a somewhat robust treatment last time, and I respect the fact they're willing to listen to views which may differ from theirs.

"I'm here to give a speech and have a discussion," he said. "Clearly I come with views, no question. I'm keen to hear the views that other people express - will they change my views? Lets see what they say."

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    Bringing the former National Party leader to Te Tii marae could spark protests, Reuben Taipari acknowledges. Source: Breakfast

    When asked about him being called racist, Mr Brash said he regarded the comments as "rather bizarre".

    He reiterated his beliefs that all New Zealanders should have the same rights and privileges no matter what race they were, and said he believed the Treaty of Waitangi was sometimes being misinterpreted.

    When questioned about New Zealand history being taught in schools, following the Post Primary Teachers' Association calling for the compulsory change, Mr Brash said he was relaxed about they topic, but added, "I don't want our history to be taught in a biased way.

    "My worry is that the focus only on post-1840 history will ignore the fact that pre-1840 there were some awful things done by Maori tribes by other Maori tribes. Let's face the whole history," he said.

    However, when put on the spot, he was able to recite articles of the Treaty.

    "I was amazed to hear that she couldn't identify what those articles were, particularly at Waitangi," he said of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stumbling yesterday. "I've been aware of the Treaty for a long time. It's an astonishing document."

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      The former National Party leader spoke with media ahead of his already controversial appearance. Source: 1 NEWS