National | John Tamihere

Tamihere elected Māori Party president

Former Te Pāti Māori leader John Tamihere will replace president Che Wilson, who stepped down at a special meeting on Wednesday.

The former Labour cabinet minister stood for the Māori Party at the 2020 election, after which he took over the role of vice-president - tāne.

Wilson, who is credited with reinvigorating the party following its dumping from Parliament in 2017, says he will concentrate on "investing time and energy with my whānau and business".

"Last night’s special general meeting was well attended and my vacancy was filled by John Tamihere with excitement and a clear focus on our campaign. So, I am pleased to leave the pāti with a president who was elected as the sole candidate and can help advance and lift our pPāti to the next level, ready for 2023,” he said.

Tamihere, (Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Tainui) has been a prominent figure for 30 years in Tāmaki Makaurau, leading Te Whānau o Waipareira, advocating for urban Māori, serving as an MP and minister in the Helen Clark government of the early 2000s, and more recently was a vocal leader of the Māori response to the global pandemic.


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'Voting alternative they always wanted'

He says, "Our people are awakening to their rights and we are seeing more Māori movement on the streets.

"We are here to show them they now have the voting alternative they always wanted when it comes to their voices, their needs and their rights, and that is Te Pāti Māori.”

Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says Wilson leaves a big hole to fill, and is confident Tamihere is the right choice to do so.

"Tamihere is a seasoned politician and one of our strongest advocates for Māori across multiple areas. We are heading towards next year's election with more mana and strength than ever. We are ready to give our people what they need and what they deserve, a fairer and well-represented government."

Although stepping down from the presidency, Wilson says he will continue to support Te Pāti Māori.