The Māōri Party will walk alongside the Kingitanga at next week's Ratana celebrations. This kind of alignment is something we haven't seen from the Kingitanga, so the question remains what does this mean and what message does it send?
The Māori Party has made their first move at the start of the election year. It's the first time a political party has been invited to walk on with the Kingitanga at the Rātana celebrations.
“We are going on together at the request of Rātana themselves,” says Flavell.
The move comes after King Tuheitia said in his coronation speech last year that he would no longer support Labour.
“It really hurt me when the leader of the Labour party said he couldn't work with the Māori Party, you know I'm not voting for them anymore.”
However, Kingitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa says this isn't about making a point with Labour.
Kingitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa says, “This isn't about proving a point to anyone. This is about showing Māoridom that Māori are united and we want to display that unity at Rātana.”
Nanaia Mahuta did not want to be interviewed on camera, but responded via text on this issue, saying, "For as long as I have been an MP, Labour has never encroached on the mana of the Kingitanga."
The Kingitanga and the Māori Party will be welcomed on to Ratana Pā next Monday.