Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is standing behind his party's by-election candidate saying Pakeha don't understand koha if they have a problem with him keeping the $12,000 raised for his surgery.
Mana's Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate, Te Hamua Nikora, raised the money for an operation on a brain tumour but the Auckland District Health Board decided to do it free of charge.
Nikora gave back some of the more than $30,000 raised, but said people would not take back the final $12,000.
Harawira defended Nikora's position this morning, saying it was about koha - gift.
"I'm not saying Pakeha don't understand generosity at all, I mean Pakeha can be as generous as any other. There seems to be a clear disconnect though in the way in which we understand koha."
He said he was just happy Nikora was well, as were many other Maori.
He refused to answer further questions about the matter.
- Fairfax Media