Written by Zulfick Farzan
13 May, 2021 | 10:03 am
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 a pendant necklace called a hei tiki.
TPM and Teanau Tuiono leave the chamber after Rawiri Waititi cut off making point of order about the House’s litigation of race issues the past fortnight. pic.twitter.com/wZJ6tIsVRt
— Thomas Coughlan (@coughlthom) May 12, 2021
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’.
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