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

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.

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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