Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi has apologised for a now-deleted tweet that referred to Caucasians as being archaic, and becoming “more extinct”.
Waititi has refused to comment on the tweet from his personal account, which he says was posted by someone else who “misunderstood” his messaging.
A brief written statement said he had issued a response via Twitter, “and the rest is an employment matter”.
A screenshot of the tweet sent to Stuff appeared to have been posted on Tuesday.
“The cau casity (sic) of caucasian’s (sic) and their ‘active assimilation agenda’. Pay them no attention, their archaic species is becoming more extinct as a new Aotearoa is on the rise. Tangata Whenua + Tangata Tiriti = Aotearoa > Tangata Whenua + Pakeha = Old Zealand.”
On Wednesday, he followed up with a Twitter thread explaining how the original post was made, and included an apology.
"Kia Ora e te whānau. It has come to my attention that a tweet was made yesterday that was not in character. You would be right. This post was made by someone else who has misunderstood my messaging.”
On the Twitter thread he said an “internal comms issue” led to the tweet, and it was not acceptable.
“Hence it was deleted and clarified this evening. A sincere apology to those whom it affected, we will do better.”
Waititi’s victory in the Māori electorate of Waiariki – covering the Bay of Plenty and South Waikato launched the return of the Māori Party to Parliament.
He was joined by co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer after the final result saw the party reach the threshold for a second seat.
Waititi has had a successful and uncompromising start to the term – helping end the prisoner stand-off at Waikeria Prison, and extracting a change in dress rules from the Speaker of the House after wearing a hei-tiki instead of a tie.
What he meant to tweet?
Waititi posted on Twitter what appeared to be a toned-down version of the message that explained his beliefs: “A new Aotearoa is on the rise. Tangata Whenua (Māori) + Tangata Tiriti (all other ethnicities who are committed to a tiriti centric Aotearoa) = the Aotearoa I believe in fighting for.”