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Ed Sheeran

Māori voices must be at front in speaking rights debate

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Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson says he’s keen to see women speaking on his own south Auckland Marae but he doesn’t think the Waitangi National Trust should change tikanga for National Party leader Judith Collins.

The trust has set up a working party to consider how to deal with calls for women party leaders to speak during powhiri at the Treaty Grounds.

Mr Jackson says Māori have been discussing the issue of women speaking on marae for decades, and in some areas it already happens.

"I believe in tikanga and I totally believe in women speaking on the marae, it's something I 100 percent support. In fact we have got to get our act together at Waatea and start kicking it in with some of our woman speaking on our marae there - sometimes they are a little reluctant but we have to encoruage and support that. But in terms of changing tikanga, I wouldn't change it just to accomodate the National Party," he says.

Mr Jackson says the form followed at Waitangi has been that the prime minister speaks from the mahau of the Whare Rūnanga rather than on the marae ātea.

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