Ardern, NZ MPs laud Queen Elizabeth II

·3-min read

Jacinda Ardern will travel to London for Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral alongside the Maori King, governor-general, and other acclaimed New Zealanders.

On Tuesday, the prime minister led a condolence debate in parliament and confirmed New Zealand's representation in the United Kingdom to mark the monarch's death.

Official travellers will include Kiingi Tuheitia, the current and former governors-general Cindy Kiro and Silvia Cartwright, and New Zealander of the Year Tipene O'Regan.

Ms Ardern will also travel with bravery award winners Bill Apiata and Jacinda Amey, and cultural ambassadors Aivale Cole and Kiri Te Kanawa, both singers.

"It is a privilege to attend the funeral alongside other New Zealanders from different walks of life to pay our respects on behalf of all New Zealanders," Ms Ardern said.

The contingent will leave New Zealand on Wednesday ahead of Monday's state funeral.

Maoridom hold a special and complex relationship with the royal family. New Zealand's foundation in 1840 came through the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, a document agreed by Maori chiefs and Captain William Hobson, acting for the British Crown.

Critics hold the monarchy responsible for the ills of colonising New Zealand, while others acknowledged the Queen's attempts to recognise wrongdoing.

In 1990, on the 150th anniversary of the Treaty, the Queen travelled to Waitangi and spoke of the agreement being "imperfectly observed".

Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson paid recognition to the complicated connection but said respect won out over mistakes of the past.

"There are some of our people who say 'why don't you have a crack?'. Well, why would we do that? We respect great leaders," he said.

"Our tikanga, our tradition, demands we are respectful. And she was a great leader."

Mr Jackson said Queen Elizabeth had been "proactive" in advancing Maori priorities.

"Maoridom is like Pakeha-dom I suppose, we're not all universally behind (anything) ... both views are valid," he said, referencing the Maori word for non-Maori people.

"Some of our iwi (tribe) leaders have come in behind her because they respect what she did in terms of addressing some of the wrongs of the crown."

Speaking in parliament at the condolence motion, Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi offered respect but made more forthright criticism.

"I see a lot written on social media. The righteous anger of indigenous people all over the world. I take those stories as stories I carry with me," he said.

"We must always speak our authentic truth. The British Empire and the power of its monarchy, was built of stolen whenua (land), stolen resources, and stolen taonga (treasure)."

Ms Ardern told the house Queen Elizabeth II's affection for New Zealand "was clear, and it was an affection that was shared".

"She was quite simply an extraordinary woman, who was of her time, and now in her passing, is of all time," she said.

More than a dozen MPs, including Opposition Leader Chris Luxon, spoke in the condolence motion.

"The Queen was the unparalleled example of female leadership in the last century," Mr Luxon said.

Parliament has risen for the week as a gesture of respect to the Queen.

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said parliament will hold extended sittings on two mornings this month to make up for lost time.