Why the Māori King’s daughter met with Prince Charles in London

The daughter of Māori King Tūheitia, Te Puhi Ariki Ngā Wai Hono i te Pō, has met with Prince Charles in London. 

The visit comes almost 140 years after her ancestor, King Tāwhiao, traveled to England to meet Queen Victoria to urge her to honour Te Tīriti o Waitangi. Traveling such a vast distance in 1884 was no small feat, but despite his efforts - he was not granted an audience with the Queen.

Te Puhi Ariki Ngā Wai Hono i te Pō spoke to Aukaha News on behalf of Re:’s reo Māori series, Ohinga, while in London.

“My heart was heavy when I arrived because I saw how vast and abundant the land is here. So why did they have to come to Aotearoa?,” she says. “To steal our land, to murder our ancestors and grandchildren, to confiscate our resources, and for what reason?”

Te Puhi Ariki Ngā Wai Hono i te Pō says it was only right to go to London to give prestige to her ancestors.

“What I know about Taawhiao coming to this land, it was because of the confiscation of our lands,” she says. “It was also about holding the Crown accountable to their promises under Te Tīriti o Waitangi.”

“As I am following the footsteps of my ancestors, I feel angry, but it’s only right that I feel angry. I believe I should feel angry.”

Te Puhi Ariki Ngā Wai Hono i te Pō met with Prince Charles along with other members of the Kīngitanga, although Kīngi Tūheitia was not in attendance. 

Te Puhi Ariki Ngā Wai Hono i te Pō says it’s about strengthening ties between the two royal families.

“Through these connections and making peace with the circumstances of the past, we will be able to find a way forward collectively,” she says. “I’ll be honest, my greatest desire of all is for all Māori land to be returned to Māori.” 

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