The day before Waitangi Day is the time for the Prime Minister to give a speech on the marae. Today, however, the protesters were so loud that he spoke for only two minutes then left the marae. He said he was not angry. Instead he was sorry that people did not have the chance to hear what he was going to say. National MP, Tau Henare, said it is true that people have a right to protest but also other people have a right to hear the Prime Minister speak. The chairman of the Waitangi marae said that the Prime Minister was a guest on the marae and it was very rude of people to shout at a guest.
The protesters are protesting about a number of things. Some are angry about selling dairy farms to overseas buyers, some are angry about drilling for oil in the sea and some are angry about selling state assets like energy companies. The Maori Party wants the government to make sure that the Treaty of Waitangi is included in talks about selling state assets.
Tomorrow is Waitangi Day. In the past it has been a day of protest. However, last year, it was peaceful and a day of celebration. Listen to February 6th 2011 to hear more about this.
• A marae is a Maori meeting place.
• State assets are valuable things that belong to the government. The New Zealand government owns electricity companies and plans to sell 49% shares in these companies.
• The Treaty of Waitangi was the agreement between Queen Victoria and Maori chiefs in 1840. It was signed at Waitangi in the far north of New Zealand.