Bay of Plenty Times
‘I will challenge, I will challenge, I will challenge’
Asma¯ori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititimadehis waythrough the House to swear his allegiance to the Queen he promised to challenge the authority which belittled the Treaty of Waitangi.
“Ka tohe au! Ka tohe au! Ka tohe au,” he said during the waerea which translates to “I will challenge, I will challenge, I will challenge”.
Waititi, wearing his trademark cowboy hat, took with him fellow coleader Debbie Ngarewa-packer’s pounamumere before swearing the oath in te reo on a copy of Te Tiriti and a Ringatu¯ bible.
Of the 120 Mpswho were sworn in to be the 53rd Parliament, 77 gave the oath or affirmation in English and 44 opted for te reo.
Anumber ofmpsalso recited it a second time in another language, includingnew Actmpjames Mcdowallwhospoke Chinese, Green Mpgolriz Ghahramanwhospoke Farsi andnew Labourmpsanahila Kanongata’a-suisuiki and Ingrid Leary whospoke Tongan and Rotuman respectively.
Manyopted to swear the oath on the bible while others swore on other pieces of writing which were important to them.
Newgreenmpelizabeth Kerekere used a copy of a treaty her ancestors signed in Tairawhiti and Greens coleadermaramadavidson used a book ofma¯ori proverbs.
Due to Covid-19, thempsswore their oaths either individually or in pairs, which led tosomecomical momentsduring the ceremony.
Nationalmptodd Mcclay and Labourmpkieran Mcanulty raced each other during their oaths, with Mcanulty finishing his well after Mcclay.
Later, Waititi explained the waerea he gave before being sworn in was a “push back” against the oati (the oath) which “keepsma¯ori on bended knee” to a sovereignwhothey never gave sovereignty to.
Ngarewa-packer also swore on Te
Tiriti wearing a korowaimadefrom Parihaka feather and a top hat to represent the ones her kuia wore before the signing of the Treaty.
Waititi said this term he would put forward amember’s Bill seeking to change the oath to include the Treaty and nga¯ Hapu¯ o Aotearoa.
“It’s very unfair at this particular time to be swearing an oath to one partner of that treaty.”
Speaker Trevor Mallard, who was re-elected unopposed, said there was lots ofroom to modernise the oath but as long as the Queen wasnew Zealand’s head of state it would continue to pledge allegiance to her.