Whakatau 2023 | Nanaia Mahuta

“I’m out, not down!” Mahuta upbeat about the future after 27 years in Parliament

Nanaia Mahuta sits down with Moana Maniapoto to reflect on her 27-year career in politics and what the future holds.

The now former Hauraki Waikato MP, Nanaia Mahuta feels a sense of liberation and is looking forward to what the future holds in store for her.

After 27 years representing the people, her people, of Waikato the former Foreign Affairs, Māori Affairs and Youth Minister was defeated by 21-year-old Hana Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke.

“Hana is in and I’m out and I’m going to move on. I get time to spend with whānau, I get time to spend on myself,” she tells Te Ao with Moana.

She is excited about planning her future and choosing what comes next.

“That’s quite a liberating feeling. I look at a number of politicians who are out of that place and how relieved, relaxed and vibrant they look and some of them look even younger now than they did when they were in Parliament.

“It’s all in front of me.”

Having become an MP at the age of 26, she understands the situation better than most what Maipi-Clarke is about to face, and has some advice to share.

“At that time, I was seen as too young, didn’t have enough life experience, didn’t have enough ability to represent a view. And that was kind of what I was confronted with when Tuku [Morgan] and I contested for the Te Tai Hauāuru seat.”

“If you don’t know yourself, know who you are, what you stand for, your values then you will struggle. And if you don’t have internal fortitude, and strength around what you believe in, that place will eat you up in a minute.

“I think about young people coming into Parliament like Hana, it’s going to be really important to have a strong support base, to not shield you because you have to undertake all the experiences of that place, but give you perspective and ground you be able to provide other views so that you can navigate what is ultimately a very different place in order to get progress.

“One of the things I did say to her is it’s simply not good enough to stand on the sidelines. Hauraki-Waikato deserves representation where our issues are front row centre to taking this country forward, and we have to advocate in that way.

For the full sit-down interview with Moana Maniapoto, tune into Te Ao with Moana tonight at 8pm on Whakaata Māori and MĀORI+

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