Regional | Kiwis

Māori Party hopes big name will win seat

A former rugby league star is using his name to win votes over the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate in next year's general elections. Howie Tamati who was recently announced as candidate for the Māori Party, hopes to win back its founding seat.

A smiling assassin is confident he'll win the seat back for the Māori Party.

Howie Tamati (Ngāti Mutunga) says, “I've got to put a game face on, I'll work hard, I'll play hard and Adrian is up for a fight.”

The high profiled sporting legend will be up against Labour's MP, Adrian Rurawhe who's been in the seat since 2014. But the Maori Party believe a big name like Howie Tamati is key to winning back its founding Te Tai Hauauru seat since former co-leader Tariana Turia was at the helm.

Tamati says, “The key one is to win it back. I was very proud of Tariana Turia when she crossed the floor and I've watched the Māori Party and I see where they're positioned now and I think it's a great opportunity.”

The announcement was held in Otaki this weekend after Tamati was selected over Debbie Ngarewa-Packer for the candidacy.

Tukoroirangi Morgan says, “Howie Tamati has a tough task ahead of him to win the seat back for the Maori Party. Tariana Turia has represented this electorate for so many years and we want it back.”

He's known for his sporting feats as a Kiwis representative and a current NZ Rugby League President. And he has also had an extensive background in local government serving 15 years on the New Plymouth District Council, but that came with many challenges.

“There's no real engagement in the local government. It's very difficult to get elected into a position on the local council, I know that for myself and own experience. I only just got in even with my profile,” says Tamati.

Tamati would also be trying to strengthen the party's local organisation to prepare for the campaign.