Maori MP kicked out of New Zealand's parliament for performing a haka

Maori lawmaker is kicked out of New Zealand’s parliament for performing a haka – three months after he was expelled for refusing to wear a tie

  • Maori Party MP Rawiri Waititi kicked out of parliament during debate on healthcare system for indigenous New Zealanders 
  • Waititi accused opposition of inciting racism, but was told to sit down by speaker
  • Instead, he performed a traditional haka dance which saw him expelled
  • He was previously expelled for refusing to wear a tie, calling it a ‘colonial noose’  

A Maori lawmaker has been kicked out of New Zealand’s parliament for performing a haka while accusing the opposition of inciting racism. 

Rawiri Waititi, a member of the Maori party whose face is covered in traditional tattoos, rose several times during a debate session on Wednesday in Wellington to oppose what he called ‘Maori bashing’ from political opponents.

After being told to sit down, Waititi performed a haka – a traditional Maori dance often performed at times of conflict – which led to him being expelled.

It comes three months after Waititi was kicked out of parliament for refusing to wear a tie – which he referred to as a ‘colonial noose’ – instead preferring to wear pendant necklace called a hei tiki.

Maori MP Rawiri Waititi was kicked out of New Zealand’s parliament after performing a haka (pictured) and accusing opposition parties of ‘inciting racism’

Rules stating that lawmakers must be in ‘business dress’ including neck ties have since been changed to allow men to go without.

Waititi’s most-recent protest came as parliament debated plans for a Maori Health Authority to improve healthcare for indigenous New Zealanders.

The plans are supported by Jacinda Ardern’s Labour, but the opposition Nationals have accused her of pursuing a ‘separatist agenda’ and of creating a two-tier system that treats people differently based on race.

Mr Waititi rose several times during Wednesday’s debate session to oppose that line of argument, accusing the Nationals of ‘bashing Maori to gain votes’ in what he said amounted to ‘racist rhetoric’.

Maori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer also tried to raise a question about what she called ‘racist’ attacks on Maori, but was shut down.

Moments before he was ejected, Mr Waititi told lawmakers: ‘When it comes to views of indigenous rights and indigenous peoples, those views must be from those indigenous peoples for the indigenous rights of our people. 

‘They can’t be determined by people who are not indigenous.

‘If we find this thing, this attitude acceptable in this House – a constant barrage of insults to tangata whenua [Maori people] – then I find this House in disrepute.’

Told to sit down by speaker Trevor Mallard, Mr Waititi instead stepped into the aisle alongside Ms Ngarewa-Packer and performed a short haka.

Mallard then ordered Mr Waititi out of the house. He was followed by Ms Ngarewa-Packer who gave a pukana – a wild facial expression that often accompanies haka dances – as a parting shot.

Mr Waititi was previously kicked out of parliament for refusing to wear a tie, preferring to wear a traditional pendant necklace called a hei tiki (pictured) 

Green MP Teanau Tuiono, also a Maori, then walked out of the house in solidarity.  

But Waititi’s latest stance isn’t supported by all Maori lawmakers.

After Waititi left, Labour Party Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis pointed out the relatively small support base for the Maori Party.

‘Don’t ever think that a party that gets 1.2% of the vote actually represent the views of Maoridom,’ Davis told lawmakers.

Speaking outside parliament, Mr Waititi added: ‘This has incited racism with venom towards Maori, because of this type of propaganda and rhetoric – we won’t stand for it any more. 

‘The opposition leader has been constantly bashing Maori to gain the votes of her Pekeha [non-Maori New Zealander] constituents. That’s all it is.’

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