Jacinda Ardern is set to appear at Northland's annual Waitangi Day commemorations in her capacity as Prime Minister at Waitangi for the first time next month.

It's been nearly 20 years since the former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark was brought to tears at the controversial Te Tii Waitangi Marae, Regional Economic Development Minister and Northland Māori leader Shane Jones said the finer details on a smooth reception for the new Prime Minister will be finalised last night.

“Ko te wairua i waenga tonu i a rātou me pā tonu ki a Waitangi. Engari e kore e oti i a rātou te haere ake ki te marae o raro pēnā he tātā anake te mahi. Nā, nā wai rānei i teka? Mā te hapū kotahi o te Tai Tokerau katoa e kōrero i taua rangi? E kore rawa atu ahau e hakaae pēnā ko te hua e puta ana he pōhauhau, he pōrearea, he whakataurekareka i te tū o Ngāpuhi nui tonu.”

With a new baby on the way and the topic of allowing a woman to speak on the traditionally male-dominated taumata, Jones believes Ardern holds the highest political position and should be allowed to speak on the marae.

“Kāhore he mahi i tū atu mō te Tai Tokerau te whakahōnore i tērā tūranga. Kāhore he raruraru kia whakarite mai he huarahi māna e tū ki te kōrero. Ahau i kite i tērā mahi e meatia ana e Margaret Shields, e Jenny Shipley, e Whina Cooper.”

For now, it's expected that the official pōwhiri for the Prime Minister will take place at the top Waitangi Marae, Te Whare Rūnanga, prior to the national day on the 6th of February.

The commotion of a good Waitangi welcome follows previous demands from the bottom Te Tii Waitangi Marae in the past to charge media and to restrict former Prime Minister Bill English’s speaking rights on the marae.

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