OPINION

Te Pati Maori had a little tantrum, hurled insults at the King, swore an oath to a half-wrecked document that the Crown was a party to, and then eventually caved and swore a proper oath. What does it all mean?

Te Pati Maori ran its own swearing in ceremony in Parliament, and three MPs appeared to insult King Charles during the official ceremony as well.

When Te Pati Maori MPs were called to pledge allegiance to the King, they each stood to first pledge allegiance to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, mokopuna and tikanga Maori, before they approached the Clerk of the House to make the legally-required affirmation.

The alternative ceremony happened in the House, while all 123 MPs were sworn in. The Maori Party alternative process even involved signing a document, on the desk of co-leader Rawiri Waititi.

But Stuff noticed that three Te Pati Maori MPs, co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, Waititi and Te Tai Tonga MP Takuta Ferris, did not stick to the script.

Instead of pledging allegiance to ‘King Charles III’, or in te reo ‘Kingi Tiare te Tuatoru’, the two MPs referred to Kingi Harehare te Tuatoru.

In te reo Maori, harehare can be an insult which refers to a rash. In this phrase, it could be translated as an insult, meaning the rash king, or the objectionable King.

The oaths from Waititi, Ngarewa-Packer and Ferris read:

Stuff

E ki ana i runga i te pono, i te tika, i te ngakau tapatahi me te whakau ano ka noho pirihonga, ka noho pumau ki Kingi harehare te tuatoru, me ona kahui whakaheke e ai ke te ture.

They were meant to say:

E ki ana i runga i te pono, i te tika, i te ngakau tapatahi me te whakau ano ka noho pirihonga, ka noho pumau ki a Kingi Tiare te Tuatoru me tona kahui whakaheke e ai ke te ture.

It did not appear that Clerk of the House David Wilson picked up on the amended oaths. It’s also unclear if the oaths from Ferris and Waititi will be accepted or if they will be asked to redo the process.

Waititi and Ferris insisted they had not insulted the King.

Ferris told Stuff that “Hare” was “East Coast for Charles”. “Emphatic for Charles,” he said.

But Ferris is from Te Waipounamu, which also happens to be where I’m from. And in Te Tau Ihu, Hare has a very different meaning… it means scab. 

Stuff

Rude, insulting, disrespectful…and all on just 3.08% of the vote. They are a disgrace and their grandstanding, protests, and alternate swearing ceremonies all amount to nothing.

It reminds me of the famous lines from Shakespeare’s MacBeth:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare

That sums up Te Pati Maori beautifully, far more accurately than anything their ‘culture’ has produced, that is for sure.

Their little protest is done, but they had to make the oath to the King anyway, as they couldn’t be trotters deep in the trough without it.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...