Maori unity over water may already be splintering.
Forty-five of Maoridom's most powerful leaders yesterday gathered at Ngaruawahia in the wake of a hui convened by King Tuheitia - and later made it clear they were not going to be rolled by a new pan-Maori body in any discussions with the Crown over Maori rights and interests in water.
Now this piece by Ms Watkins was published on Saturday, which means it was probably authored late on Friday.
That means that King Tuheitia's plea to Maori to negotiate as one lasted for less than 24 hours. Tracy Watkins explains how the cracks are emerging:
The king's hui on Thursday ended in apparent overwhelming support for a resolution calling on negotiations with the Crown over Maori rights and interests in water to happen before individual negotiations with iwi and hapu, and before the sale of shares in state-owned power companies.
There also appeared to be overwhelming support for the establishment of a pan-Maori body representing broad Maori interests, including the Maori Women's Welfare League, the kohanga reo movement, the Maori Council and others appointed by an eminent group, including Tuwharetoa head Sir Tumu te Heuheu.
But the Iwi Leaders Group yesterday issued a statement confirming a resolution had been passed unanimously endorsing the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and its continued engagement with the Crown.
Meanwhile, Sir Tumu said he was not even in the room when the vote was taken - and had nothing to do with his name being put forward. He confirmed that he would not be nominating anyone for such a body.
He was not the only iwi leader who appears to have been absent during the vote.
Organiser Tukoroirangi Morgan described the 1000-strong gathering for the king's hui as the A-list of Maoridom, but it appears many of the A-listers had left the room before the resolutions were put to the floor.
Despite there being few dissenting voices at the time, there were angry words behind closed doors at yesterday's iwi leaders gathering over being told to “stand down” from their individual negotiations till a pan-Maori body had been set up. The decision not to be in the room for the vote may have been deliberate, to avoid offending King Tuheitia.
Interesting times await. Clearly Maoridom is not as united behind the Maori King as his supporters such as Tuku Morgan might want the Government to believe. And all the while, Morgan fires insults at John Key, today describing him as "culturally ignorant".
We wonder whether Morgan may have been looking in a mirror when he made that remark, because we reckon that his version of New Zealand history is at odds with that of most reasonable people.