, 2022-07-18 01:02:18,
PM Jacinda Ardern addresses the media at the Pacific Islands Forum after the leaders’ retreat.
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Act Party leader David Seymour is demanding an apology from Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi after he joked about spiking Seymour’s drink with poisonous berries.
Waititi made the comments at Te Pāti Māori’s conference held in Rotorua, where he joked about using karaka berries to poison Seymour.
He told the audience about a karaka seedpod necklace he was wearing, saying the poisonous seeds were still in it.
“These are karaka berries and they’ve still got the poison in them. So next time I go into Parliament this is what I’m going to do. When David Seymour’s not looking, I’m going to go like this into his water.” He tapped a seed pod over an imaginary glass. “There you are, re-indigenise yourself with some native seeds.”
The manner of delivery was comedic and everybody laughed, including his fellow co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer sitting next to him.
However, Seymour, who was in Rotorua for a national Act campaign last week, said he didn’t believe Watiti’s comments were a joke.
Seymour told the Rotorua Daily Post getting an apology would be the right thing to do.
“Well first of all you’ve gotta put it into context. Last week the president of Te Pāti Māori said that Act was the white settler party and should leave New Zealand.
“That is extremely dangerous rhetoric.
“For them to apologise and say they don’t support the rhetoric of people being excluded from our society based on race would be the most acceptable thing to do.
“I don’t think it’s funny to joke about poisoning people.”
Seymour acknowledged his whakapapa to Ngāpuhi after his uncle was doing research into their genealogy during the 1980s.
“My ancestors are British and also Māori from Ngāti Rehia in the Far North,” Seymour said.
“I do identify with my Māori side and you’ve gotta think carefully about where you’ve come from because it informs where you’re going.
“I’ve got multiple interests in New Zealand’s history.”
The karaka is traditionally highly revered by Māori as it is an important resource, or mahinga kai (food gathering place). When told this Seymour responded: “Well, I think the point is, he’s saying that I want to poison you.”
The karaka was known as…
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