A Ngapuhi elder has threatened to block the Prime Minister from returning to Waitangi’s lower marae.
The fact Prince William and his wife won’t be visiting Waitangi next month has so incensed a Ngapuhi Maori elder he says he’ll knock down a famous monument to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
He’s also threatened to block Prime Minister John Key from ever returning to Waitangi’s lower marae.
Ngapuhi Chief Kingi Taurua usually helps keep the peace at Waitangi but not any more - the Treaty grounds have been left off the royal travel itinerary and he’s furious.
“If the Prince don’t come in April then we are going to knock it down,” he says, speaking about the monument erected in the 1880s commemorating the Treaty.
“We’re going to start at the top and work our way down, we’re going to use sledgehammers to knock the whole thing down,” he says.
He’s blaming the Government for the snub, but Mr Key says the decision was not his.
Mr Taurua sent a letter to the Prime Minister, mentioning his plans for the monument, finishing with this threat - “a last warning, you had better by-pass the Marae on the next Waitangi Day if you ever become Government again.”
“I will do every effort to make sure that he will never never walk onto this marae again,” he says.
Mr Key says he will return if he wins this year’s general election, and Mr Taurua says if he has to he’ll physically block the Prime Minister.
“He can go and jump in the lake as far as I’m concerned.”
It’s not the first time Mr Taurua has protested a royal visit - in 2012 his message was the same.
Thirty-one years ago when Prince Charles and Diana visited with a baby Prince William they were mooned by activist Dun Mihaka.
A member of the royal family hasn’t been to Waitangi since 1994 – and the Queen never went back after a protester threw a t-shirt at her in 1990.
This is the second royal snub to make headlines since the visit was announced on Monday - the Maori King is refusing to meet the royals because he wanted more time with them.
As for Waitangi and the monument - it’s Taurua’s move - the Prime Minister says there’s no way the itinerary will change.
I would be overjoyed if that disgusting obelisk where to be finally torn down! I would be even more ecstatic if I had the honor of smashing a chunk off myself!
A second Treaty claim is planned for wider Auckland.
It’s on behalf of Ngapuhi iwi, and follows Tainui’s planned claim announced by the Maori King yesterday.
King Tuheitia launched a claim covering an area from Mahurangi Peninsula in the north to the Firth of Thames, and across to the Manukau Harbour and Piha.
But Ngapuhi leader David Rankin said their plans to make a claim for wider Auckland go back five years, and Ngapuhi make up the largest population in Auckland.
He said the basis of the claim will be that the Crown ignored Ngapuhi when settling the Auckland claim with Ngati Whatua, and a breach of the Treaty occurred.