Auckland-based hapu Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, say they will not be part of any powhiri to welcome the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust Chairman, Piripi Davis, says the Auckland-based hapū is strongly opposed to the TPPA, and believes it will be harmful to the Nation’s sovereignty and well-being.
The hapū, which is mana whenua (power from the land) to the central Auckland isthmus, says it will not take part in welcoming ceremonies for TPPA officials when they visit the City on February 4.
“There has been a lot of anger and mistrust voiced about the TPPA by our whānau and we agree with them,” says Mr Davis.
“Our people take pride in our relationship with the whenua (land). In just over a week we will invite all of Auckland to our home at Bastion Point to share Waitangi Day. This will be a chance for us to showcase the beautiful whenua we share with Auckland City,” says Mr Davis.
“We want to protect the knowledge passed from our kuia and kaumātua and make sure it is not exploited by overseas corporations. That’s why we are taking this stance.”
Mr Davis also identified commercialisation of indigenous flora and indigenous knowledge related to traditional uses of plants as a potential threat.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have long been the go-to for welcoming high-ranking government, entertainment and sporting figures to Auckland, having most recently welcomed American media megastar Oprah Whinfrey to their marae in December.
A number of Iwis and local hapus have been approached to partake in the powhiri with most declining the offer. However, this morning Te Runanga o Ngāti Whātua, the overseeing board for Ngati Whatua based hapus, said that it would welcome the invitation to be involved in powhiri.