A three-day event at Te Tii Marae to mark Waitangi Day has been cancelled.

Marae chairman Ngati Kawa Taituha said it was always a “great honour” to host the nation to commemorate the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, but the threat of Omicron and move to the Red traffic light setting had been extremely challenging.

“After conducting a risk analysis, this full list of concerns led us to the conclusion that we could not guarantee everyone’s safety,” Taituha said.

It was also said that sponsorship had been withdrawn which also coincided with local hapū members being “abused by protesters” over a false narrative.

Taituha said this resulted in wild accusations “that we exchanged a fiscal envelope with the Governor General and Prime Minister”.

“The people’s health and wellbeing is paramount and a duty we hold dear in terms of our manaakitanga hosting responsibilities. That’s the crux of our decision to cancel,” he said.

Earlier this month, it was decided to hold the three-day event after the Waitangi National Trust announced it would cancel all in-person events at the Upper Treaty Grounds due to Covid-19.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi Marae (Te Tii) had hosted official Waitangi commemorations for decades until growing tension and protest in recent years saw the Waitangi National Trust take charge and proceedings move to the Upper Treaty Grounds in 2018.

Now, both groups will hold respective online forums and discussions to mark the country’s national day.

Top Image: Te Tii Marae in 2015. (File photo) Photo: Getty Images

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