The king's son's speech

00:50, Aug 22 2013
Maori King
FILLING IN: Whatumoana Paki, left, has taken on the duties of his father, Maori King Tuheitia, during his recuperation.

The heir to the Kingitanga throne made his inaugural speech at Turangawaewae Marae and used the opportunity to send a message to tribal elders to get past the conflict and work for the future.

Illness forced the Maori King, Tuheitia, to hand official duties to Whatumoana Paki, 22, and he watched as his eldest son addressed an audience of 600 people and turn the heat on iwi leaders.

"With the absence of inspirational leadership, our aspirations to achieve mana motuhake are clouded by forked tongues, by hatred, by envy, by suspicion and greed from the very people who we hope to inspire us, encourage us, support us and teach us," he said.

Whatumoana Paki
PEACE: Whatumoana Paki used his inaugural speech at Turangawaewae Marae to send a message to tribal elders.

The tribe faced "formidable segregation" between the generations and he said the youth would leave if the problem remained.

"Failure to recognise this void could result in many talented rangatahi choosing to pursue their hopes and dreams elsewhere."

King Tuheitia themed this year's Koroneihana on the rangatahi (youth) and Mr Paki said failure to build a future for them would have a significant impact.


"It would be a great loss and tragedy for iwi, for Maoridom for our dreams of mana motuhake, for our hopes of social, cultural, political and economic development."

King Tuheitia took time out from his official duties in June to concentrate on his ailing health.

He wore a coat and was draped in a blanket to ward off the cold and his son told the gatherers that the king had responded well to his medical treatment.

"We are still very much concerned for my father's health and wellbeing and as a whanau we remain strong for him with your support," he said. "While absent from his duties, Dad is very much attuned to what is happening here in Waikato and around the motu (country)."

Mr Paki's official title was te whirinaki a te kingi. He said the learning curve had been swift but he was buoyed by the support of the people and his own generation.

"I have learned so much in past weeks and I consistently aim to keep myself well informed about current issues faced by Maori. I have only felt a small fraction of the responsibility that my father has carried for the past seven years but that small weight has been enough for me to understand the collective challenges we face as a people."

Waikato Times