Rawiri Waititi: Maori MP kicked out of New Zealand parliamentary debate for doing haka

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Rawiri Waititi: Maori MP kicked out of New Zealand parliamentary debate for doing haka


A Maori MP has been kicked out of a New Zealand parliamentary debate for performing a haka in protest against what he called racist remarks by an opposition party leader.

Rawiri Waititi opposed a “constant barrage of insults” directed at indigenous peoples, as MPs discussed the government’s plans to create a new Maori health authority amid sweeping changes to the health system.

Mr Waititi, co-leader of the Maori Party, said the position of some Tory MPs that the new authority was separatist amounted to racist rhetoric.

Image:
David Waititi speaking before being deported

If that kind of attitude was acceptable, he said, “then I find this house discredited.”

The MP repeatedly interrupted Judith Collins, leader of the center-right Nationalist Party.

President Trevor Mallard then told Mr Waititi to sit down, reminding him that his microphone had been turned off.

But instead, the MP performed the haka, a traditional dance or challenge accompanied by song.

Mr Mallard told Mr Waititi to leave the chamber – which he did, along with his party’s other co-leader, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

This is not the first time that Mr. Waititi has run into Mr. Mallard.

In February, he won a battle over wearing the tie in Wellington’s bedroom, ending a long-standing sartorial requirement for men he called a “colonial knot.”

Mr Mallard also kicked Mr Waititi from the debate room during this dispute after Mr Waititi showed up wearing a traditional pendant around his neck called hei tiki.

But Mr Mallard backed down the next day, saying ties would no longer be mandatory, after a committee of MPs voted in favor of removing the requirement.

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