Kingitanga supporters descended on Tūrangawaewae Marae for the 12th anniversary of the Māori King's Coronation. For the first time in the celebration's history, media have been banned from covering the event from start to finish.
However, hundreds of bereaved members of Waikato-Tainui gathered to collectively grieve and commemorate their loved ones who've passed away during the year,
Ngāti Maniapoto elder Tom Roa says the tribe has seen many of their leaders pass during the year.
“There is a saying, ‘we are shrouded in deep mourning, for the multitude of our loved ones who have passed away,’ that was our focus today.
Te Kāea understands the King had concerns that media would not focus on the kaupapa of the celebrations, his 12th-year reign and the 160th anniversary of the King Movement, following the investigation of his office by the SFO and the letter by Tukoroirangi Morgan.
“With regards to Tuku's letter, it's for him to address his allegations and concerns. I don't believe anyone else should speak, it's for him to explain,” said Roa.
“Secondly, the investigation by SFO is for them to complete. They will let us all know what the findings are in due course, then we can speak. It's not that we don't want to answer questions, but the findings will give us the correct response.”
Roa says Māoridom has frowned on some stories by media that focus on controversy and not the kaupapa.
“So there is much pressure on the King, the King Movement, and Waikato who want to focus on commemorating their loved ones.”
Tomorrow supporters from across the country will collectively grieve and commemorate their loved ones at Tūrangawaewae marae.
Performances by kapa haka and sports activities will also get underway.