New Zealand Prime Minister won't visit Waitangi marae

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Helen Clark; Prime Minister

The New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark will be attending Waitangi Day commemorations on February 6th; however she will not visit the lower Te Tii Marae, which has been a focal point for protest in recent years.

Her office has said that she would be doing a walkabout on the Treaty Grounds before attending a reception hosted by the Governor General that night.

The Prime Minister hopes her attendance will be trouble free.

The Leader of the Opposition Dr Don Brash is also to attend the attend a reception hosted by the Governor General and the Dawn Service. In 2004 Brash was showered with mud at the entrance of the lower Te Tii Marae.

Dr. Don Brash

Although this is New Zealand's national day, the commemoration has often been the focus of protest by Maori activists, and is often marred by controversy.

This year co-ordinators will allow all media to attend the Waitangi Day commemorations. In 2003 and 2004 all Non-Maori media were banned from the Marae.