Regional | Elections

During the cyclone, Michael Ngahuka leapt into action

A newcomer in contesting for the Hawke’s Bay Tukituki seat in the upcoming election is Vision NZ’s newest candidate, and community leader, Michael Ngahuka.

Ngahuka is also a Destiny Church pastor and does volunteer work at the regional prison. But supporting families in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle is his major focus in this year’s campaign.

As a resident of Napier, immediately following the wrath of Cyclone Gabrielle he went to help at to St Joseph’s Māori Girls College and there his desire to run for the local electorate bloomed.

“I didn’t see much support from Civil Defence. And being a builder from the construction industry, I had a trailer full of generators, everything you need to go off-grid, so I ended up helping the whānau out there. And that started the spark in me, the desire to help our people,” he says.

Cyclone still a driver

Today Ngāhuka is a candidate for the Tukituki electorate in Hawke’s Bay. And although it is nearly six months on, helping those affected by the cyclone is still a key driver.

He believes his influence on larger community affairs will in turn extend the reach of support to whānau who are silently struggling.

“During an emergency, that’s when you should see leadership, and without being too rude and quite frank, I didn’t see much leadership during those initial weeks.”

Ngahuka has his own construction company, which is what fuels his passion throughout the day. When Te Ao Māori News met him, he was in his work uniform and looking at clearing a lot of the silt still present in the Waiohiki area of Taradale.

Ngahuka says, family is at the heart of his work as a politician and always will be.

“It’s seeing them succeed in health, education, business, income in their pursuit and so that really drives me. And again I’ve also got some little eyes and ears watching me, my boys and my girl, and I want to pave a way for them.”