Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was expelled from the New Zealand Parliament on Wednesday for performing a “haka”, a traditional Maori dance of defiance, in protest at “the racist rhetoric and propaganda” of the opposition National Party .
For about two weeks, the leader of the National Party, Judith Collins, has lashed out at New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for seeking ways for indigenous people to better exercise their rights . Collins claims, without evidence, that these attempts are part of “a separatist agenda.”
Tension rose on Wednesday when Maori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer asked Ardern if he considers “the continuing attacks on Maori to be racist,” alluding to Collins.
Ngarewa-Packer’s question was blocked by the Speaker of the Lower House, Trevor Mallard, who clarified that this comment was outside the responsibility of the prime minister , which allowed Collins to continue with the debate.
It was then that Waititi stood up to denounce that in recent weeks “racist propaganda” against indigenous people has been heard, and question Parliament for allowing “the constant bombardment” of insults against the tangata whenua (a Maori expression to refer to the traditional owners of the land) “.
The speaker of the Lower House, uncomfortable, asked him to sit down, but the Maori legislator performed a ceremonial dance of defiance “haka”.
After being expelled by Mallard from the session, Waititi said, accompanied by Ngarewa-Packer, that ” it is not correct that the Speaker of the House does not have the courage to stop racism in the House and it is not correct that we support it,” he collects. Radio New Zealand.
It is not the first time that Waititi is expelled from the Chamber, since in February he also had to leave the legislature by refusing to wear a tie, arguing that it is not part of the formal clothes of the Maori and is a colonial dress.
Some 850,000 of New Zealand’s 5 million people are Maori , although a large part of the population lives in poverty or suffers from financial insecurity, in addition to social problems.