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Māori Party cancel plans to attend Waitangi after Covid case, iwi advice

The Māori Party will not be travelling to the Bay of Islands to commemorate Waitangi Day due to the Northland Covid case, under advice from iwi. 

Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. Source: Getty

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said they would "err on the side of caution and will continue to do so until our people are vaccinated and we can minimise the risk of spreading the virus".

"Aotearoa is currently at greater risk than we’ve ever been of another significant outbreak," she said. 

Fellow co-leader Rawiri Waititi said they acknowledged and supported the actions of Tai Tokerau iwi to re-establish community checkpoints to discourage inter-regional travel.

"It’s a real shame that we won’t be travelling to Waitangi this year, but there’s nothing more important than the protection of whakapapa and ensuring we don’t increase the risk of community transmission," Waititi said. 

"In making this decision we are clear that we will always stand by iwi – they have the mana to determine the tikanga to keep our people safe."

When asked today if New Zealanders should be altering their travel plans this weekend in light of Auckland Anniversary on February 1, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government would be able to give more information tomorrow and on Saturday. 

MPs and the Prime Minister generally travel to the Bay of Islands for the commemoration on Waitangi Day, February 6.