Tuariki Delamere new political advisor to King Tuheitia
King Tuheitia has appointed a new political advisor, pledging new political allegiances.
A speech made on his behalf by former Immigration Minister Tuariki Delamere has signalled the Māori monarch's unconditional support for the New Zealand Labour-led government despite backing the outgoing Māori Party in the lead up to the election.
Delamere says he's humbled to be King Tuheitia's advisor on all things politics.
“I'm the political advisor for King Tuheitia. I guess my first engagement in that role to te ao Māori was at Kōkōhīnau Marae at the celebrations of the 150th founding of Te Hāhi Ringatū. And for me, that was an incredible honour given my family's connection, intimate connection with the hāhi (church).”
Delamere made his first address to te ao Māori on behalf of the king over the weekend at Kōkōhīnau Marae, throwing the king's support behind the Labour-led government.
“King Tuheitia wishes it to be known that it is incumbent on him, and he believes it incumbent on the leaders of te ao Māori to work with Prime Minister Ardern, her ministers, and the Māori members of Parliament.”
Labour MP Kiritapu Allan was present. With the New Year underway, she says there was a sense of unity despite many Māori Party supporters present.
“A rather tumultuous year, as election years rather are. People put on political caps. Sitting there and listening to Tuariki give his kauhau on behalf of the King, I felt like there was a real sense of optimism that prevailed at the poukai in terms of the nature of the relationships between the iwi and the Crown.”
Delamere replaces former Māori Party chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan as the king's political advisor.
Despite the lead up to the election, Tuariki says te iwi Māori has spoken.
“There's been some obvious tension there that we're all aware of because Nanaia (Mahuta) felt that the King was pushing her away because she was Labour and he was talking about the Māori Party. As Nanaia told me, that division has been healed, and she wants to work with the Kīngitanga and the King, her cousin to march on forward for Māori and Pākehā.
For now, both the Māori King and the Labour Party will be preparing for Ratana commemorations which will also be Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's first major Māori engagement as Prime Minister.