By 1News

The Māori Party is calling for New Zealand to remove the British royal family as the head of state and the recentering of the country around Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

It comes as Aotearoa on Sunday morning marked the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

“The only way this nation can work is when Māori assert their rights to self-management, self-determination, and self-governance over all our domains,” Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said in a statement.

“Our vision is for constitutional transformation that restores the tino rangatiratanga of tangata whenua in this country.”

Co-leader Rawiri Waititi likened our “founding covenant” as a “marriage between tangata whenua and the Crown”, with the Treaty as “the child of that marriage”.

“It’s time for tangata whenua to take full custody of Te Tiriti o Waitangi from the Crown,” he said.

Ngarewa-Packer added that the removal of the British royal family “won’t mean the Crown is off the hook”, however.

“If a couple gets divorced, you don’t lose responsibility for your child. This will be an opportunity to re-imagine a more meaningful and fulfilling partnership, between Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti.”

She said the party’s proposed Mana Motuhake plan would help set out how it would be achieved, including the establishment of a Māori Parliament and the implementation of all of the Matike Mai Aotearoa independent working group’s recommendations for constitutional transformation.

It would also include the overhaul of the Treaty Settlement process and the return of land to whānau, hapū and iwi, she said.

Waititi added that the Treaty is “the foundation of a living, evolving relationship between tangata whenua and the Crown”, rather than one based on “full and final settlements”.

“We are here to be an unapologetic voice for a Te Tiriti-centric Aotearoa. To re-balance the scales of power in a Aotearoa and realise the partnership that was envisaged by our tupuna, tangata whenua and tangata Tiriti, in Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” he said.

“There is a new generation of tangata whenua and Tangata Tiriti who recognise that being forced to work within the system does not suit our struggle for mana motuhake. We are here to dismantle this system.”

New Zealand Republic campaign chair Lewis Holden welcomed Te Pāti Māori's calls for a citizen to be named as head of state, calling the transition process "straightforward".

"The legislative changes required include a Treaty clause to ensure the relationship between Māori and Kāwangatanga continues, a clause to ensure our Commonwealth membership continues, and maintaining the separation of head of state and head of government, transitioning our Governor-General to our actual head of state," Holden said in a media release.

“We hope to see more political parties pick up on the debate, which is continuing to grow as support for change increases. It’s time for all New Zealanders to be part of the debate.”

Top Image: Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. (File photo) Photo: Getty Images

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