Te Pāti Māori president John Tamihere said the Green party can never “out Māori Te Pāti Māori”.
He also said Te Pāti Māori will always be able to “out green the Greens as Māori are the indigenous custodians of te taiao [the environment]".
Tamihere's remarks were in response to the Green party announcement of its Hoki Whenua Mai policy on Monday morning, which focuses on returning land to Māori.
The Green party stated it was the right thing to do.
Colonial land theft
Green party co-leader Marama Davidson said colonial land theft has caused severe disconnection for Māori, and their new policy would address inequities for Māori within the health, education and justice systems.
When asked by BusinessDesk what Te Pāti Māori thought of the move, Tamihere said it already had a policy that covers addressing the loss of whenua Māori (Māori land).
He added that there was already a commission of inquiry process in place.
"The Waitangi Tribunal has inquired into 70% of Aotearoa; what is the Greens Inquiry going to do?"
Tamihere said Davidson was correct and the Green party must speak up and support indigenous solutions.
"She should therefore support Te Pāti Māori."
'A positive working relationship'
Meanwhile, Davidson said the Green party had championed Māori political aspirations for decades as Tiriti partners.
“In order to achieve Te Tiriti justice, we need everyone's involvement, including tangata tiriti [people of the Treaty/non-Māori].
"We can't leave these kaupapa [values] like Hoki Whenua Mai to Māori; this isn't our burden to carry,” she said.
Davidson said the party policy created a pathway to return stolen land legitimately so that whānau could thrive.
“We look forward to maintaining a positive working relationship with Te Pāti Māori."