Titewhai, protocols and rancidity – why Hone’s mum may be banned from a marae

You don't notice it so much out here in the open air.

Dunno what the word sounds like in Te Reo.

But it’s a fair mouthful in English.

It’s “rancidification” – a process with a somewhat unsavoury pong about it.

And it’s been applied to describe the behaviour of Hone Harawira’s very stroppy mum, the formidable Titewhai.

In essence, as the Herald reports today, Titewhai faces a possible ban from Te Tii Marae after being accused of “rancidification of Maori protocols” at a recent Maori Party hui.

Alf fancies himself as a great wordsmith (although Ele from Homepaddock gives Mrs Grumble a higher rating).

But he has never dropped “rancidification” into a speech or any of the articles he has submitted to the Bush Telegraph.

Alf’s constituents are all above average in the IQ department and will not need to check out what it means. Many of them, moreover, are familiar with the dairy industry, where product is apt to go rancid.

But for readers beyond the boundaries of Eketahuna North, maybe these definitions will help.

The first online dictionary consulted by Alf says –

ran·cid (rnsd)

1. Having the disagreeable odor or taste of decomposing oils or fats; rank.

2. Repugnant; nasty: rancid remarks.

[Latin rancidus, from rancre, to stink, be rotten.]
ran·cidi·ty, rancid·ness n.

Noun 1. rancidity – the state of being rancid; having a rancid scent or flavor (as of old cooking oil)

A second dictionary is a bit more focused on the science of what happens.


decomposition of fats and other lipids by hydrolysis and/or oxidation; process of becoming rancid

Alf rather likes the application of this wonderful word to politics in the Far North, where seven board members from the lower marae at Waitangi have contacted the Herald to say they are disappointed that protocols such as manaakitanga (looking after people and agreeing to disagree), whanaungatanga (strengthening families) and kaitiakitanga (caring for resources or people) were becoming meaningless to “a pocket of Maori people”.

Board chairman Te Hapae Ashby and his deputy, Eruera Taurua, were among the board members who wrote:

“Te Tii Waitangi has been the springboard of Maori politics since the year dot and boards of trustees have for a long time accepted that.

“But the behaviour of Titewhai Harawira during a Taitokerau Maori Party hui … her blatant breach of Maori protocol as a Maori person, the hate tactics being used to create dissension within the Ngapuhi tribe and division with the subtribes, and the taint of her foul language in our house of ancestors, on a marae which is significant to both Maori and Pakeha, is not acceptable.”

At that hui, two weekends ago, the Harawira family doyenne is reported to have called Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia a “bloody liar” and a “snake” and to have accused Mrs Turia and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples of hanging off Prime Minister John Key’s jockstraps.

The Te Tii email said the marae would not be a “dumping ground for personal agendas” any longer.

“The political poncing and resultant rancidification of Maori protocols by bullies who want everything their own way by whatever foul means, are not traits that this particular board would wish to have our children and young adults perceive as being the Ngapuhi way forward.

“The board’s priority is to preserve the dignity of the marae and trespass notices will be issued where the board considers it necessary to do so,” the trustees wrote.

The Herald goes on to report Titewhai’s denial that she used salty language.

“It’s something I never do. I never use that sort of language, ever, ever, ever.”

No never?

Or hardly ever?

She did spend a bit of time in prison, after all, and a lapse in her linguistic standards would be understandable in those circumstances.

And Alf recalls Titewhai reducing Helen Clark to tears on one occasion, a remarkable feat because we Nats tried time and again in the debating chamber to do just that, but without success.

Oh, and Titiwhai reckons she is not fazed by the prospect of being banned.

“Whatever they want to do, that’s fine. I’ve got no concerns, no worries if people want to seek a bit of publicity.

Ah, but is she worried about the prospect of being found guilty of rancidification of Maori protocols?

Oh, and does the rotten egg stench in Rotorua have anything to do with the rancidifying of protocols in that part of the country, with or without Titewhai’s involvement?

2 Responses to Titewhai, protocols and rancidity – why Hone’s mum may be banned from a marae

  1. […] Alf Grumble ruminates on rancidification and its political implications here. […]

  2. […] noted here the other day, Titewhai faces a possible ban from Te Tii Marae after being accused of “rancidification of Maori protocols” at a recent Maori Party […]

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