Mahuta says vote to change entrenched racism

Waikato Regional Council deputy chair Tipa Mahuta says she's witnessed many examples of institutional racism in the region.

The younger sister of Labour Minister Nanaia Mahuta and a leader within Tainui believes Māori have the chance to change entrenched racism by voting in the upcoming local body elections.

Mahuta says the time to talk is over. It's the time to vote, "We will hīkoi to Wellington but we won't put the voting form in to vote. Tell every 'cuzzy' you got to vote this time if you want people in."

In December last year, Waikato regional councillors reprimanded their leader over allegedly racist comments. Russ Rimmington was removed as council chair in May this year because of those comments.

"The big issue of this local government election is there is a real racial undertone so, if our Māori don't vote, then we are giving it to kaikiri [racists]," she says.

Mahuta wants to put an end to discrimination against Māori and start introducing new faces to the local council, through the local body elections that will be held from September 16 to October 8.

Up to 30 Māori

"We've got at least seven councils, with the inclusion of Māori wards. That's going to mean it's not just going to be me and Kataraina Hodge on the regional council, all our TA's are going to have māngai in the mix. For Waikato, that could be up to 30 of us speaking into local government, which is the biggest Māori voice we've ever had."

Father of four of his own children and a stepdaughter, 45-year-old Moko Raymond Kumar Tauariki, who considers himself a footy fanatic, could be the fresh face needed on council.

"It's not necessarily about processing a resource consent or building a city plan. But from a Māori world view and an indigenous view we've got to look at everything," Tauariki says.

Tauariki is of Ngāti Naho, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Māhanga and Ngāti Wairere hapū and Fijian-Indian descent, with a background in education, mental health and environment. He intends to run for the Hamilton East Māori seat.

Whānau network needed

Nominations open on Friday, July 15, and close at 12 noon on Friday, August 12.

"Those people who do have the intention to stand for council the prerequisite must whakapapa back to here [Tainui]. Those who want to run for the council need to tell us what they've done over the past 10 years."

Mahuta understands it's not going to happen without the support of hapū and marae. Her advice to those considering becoming a candidate? Commitment toward change.

"'For nine years what have you done?', and I have to take on the accountability and say what I'm going to do if I stand again and earn their confidence."

Mahuta says Māori candidates each have a network of at least four hundred whānau members. She says that's the foot in the door. But those running for council need at least 1,200 votes to become a Waikato District councillor.

See for details.