The Maori Party has issued a warning to the Speaker, saying Maori cultural procedures in Parliament should not be changed.
Speaker David Carter has indicated he will review Maori protocols within the House, to make sure they are in line with modern-day practices.
The review was prompted by an incident which saw two senior frontbench MPs relegated to the back benches for an official powhiri because they were women.
Labour MP Annette King and her colleague Maryan Street were asked to move from the front bench during a powhiri at the start of the Youth Parliament In July, last year.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said she welcomed a review, provided it did not encroach on Maori cultural practices.
"The Maori Party believes that the protocols, procedures and practices of New Zealand's Parliament must integrate the traditions and histories of our dual cultural heritage," she said.
"However, the Parliament has no place whatsoever in trying to alter the kawa and tikanga of tangata whenua, who are the sole authorities and guardians of their own cultural heritage.
"Parliament should recognise and respect the culture and customs of tangata whenua alongside Westminster parliamentary traditions without compromising the integrity of either."
Parliament's kaumatua, Rose White-Tahuparae, is preparing a paper on the protocols which Carter has said will be discussed early this year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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