PM talks to politics raised on Te Matatini stage

By Talisa Kupenga

The political messages broadcast from the Te Matatini stage remain in the wake of the competition but did those at the beehive hear, heed and take on board the challenges put to them by performers?

It's a competition that groups aspire to win and a platform to highlight pressing issues.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, "I want to make more of that event and I absolutely think a legitimate platform to issue challenges to government to encourage where they think we should be encouraged but challenge where we should be.  We just need to make sure we're available to hear that."

Key messages among the 46 performances included calls to promote te reo Māori, more support for children and a song about the prime minister.

Te Ao asked the prime minister for her thoughts about the song.  She says, “I did hear elements of that and I'd want to check that I'd have all of the translations correct before I made any statements."

Political issues were also at the fore; with expressions of opposition to the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, calls for the Crown to honour the Treaty, and Tauranga Moana talking to the controversial Pare Hauraki Treaty settlement.

When asked if Ardern recalled any key themes or issues raised she says, "Look ongoing, making sure that we continue to uphold te Tiriti I certainly heard, the history of Māori politics, and I did hear again from the Sydney group but that wasn't necessarily about the New Zealand government." 

With the election next year, the government will have the chance to prove to Māori voters whether or not their Matatini messages fell on deaf ears.