'Leader' rejects offer to debate king movement
The self-proclaimed northern leader who called for the Kingitanga to be overthrown has refused an invitation to attend Koroneihana celebrations to voice his opinion.
On Sunday, David Rankin said Ngapuhi wanted to see an end to the King movement. He was challenged by Kingitanga supporter Mamae Takerei to bring his concerns to Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia next month but on Tuesday, he declined.
"I'm not interested in anything the king of Huntly or his servants have to say," said Rankin. "If he knew anything about his culture or his history, he would know that you don't give instructions to Ngapuhi and expect them to jump."
He said Takerei's "outburst" showed a sense of panic from the Waikato-based political movement which had started to crumble under the Maori King Tuheitia's reign.
Prominent Ngati Hine leader Erima Henare scoffed at the claim northern iwi wanted to topple the Kingitanga and said the man behind it did not have the mana or the mandate to speak for them.
He welcomed the chance to have a good old-fashioned verbal stoush at Turangawaewae Marae and said Kingitanga loyalists would too.
"If his timing is impeccable, it is because the Koroneihana is coming up and if he has got any substance behind what he is asserting, please come along and debate with me on the marae," said Henare.
Henare is the son of the late Sir James Henare and was appointed as Maori cultural adviser to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and was chairman of the Maori Language Commission. Ngati Hine has one of the largest populations in the northern group.
Rankin said on Sunday King Tuheitia was an "object of nationwide ridicule" and criticised him for the actions of his son Korotangi Paki who this month was discharged without conviction on drink driving, theft and burglary charges.
Henare said he had no intention of attending the November hui called by Rankin to discuss the king movement.
"No, not at all," he said. "He's called a hui to discuss Hone Heke's bones too and 10 people turned up so it's hardly a mandate."
Last year, Tuheitia called for Waikato tribes to debate the relevance of the movement after internal conflict brought them to the brink of calamity.
At a meeting held at Turangawaewae, he won a ringing endorsement from those in attendance and in March he re-established an advisory board, the Tekau-maa-rua. Henare is the northern representative. Tekau-maa-rua membership was originally chosen from within Waikato tribes but was opened to other iwi to have a greater say.