Politics | Winston Peters

Hana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke’s stoush with Winston Peters goes viral; rival politician admires her confidence


Education Minister Erica Stanford has praised Hana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke and conceded that despite them being in opposing political parties with differing views, Stanford can’t help but get the ‘chills’ when Maipi Clarke speaks in the House.

Stanford’s comments were made following her visit to Te Raahuitanga Kōhanga Reo to speak at length about the government’s investment into Kōhanga Reo property maintenance.

“She is of the kohanga reo generation. She is confident, she is smart, she is articulate, she is confident in who she is - that is my aspiration for all our tamariki,” Stanford said.

Stanford’s comments on Maipi-Clarke were not made about a stoush in the post-budget debate involving Winston Peters. The minister had said she was not in the House at the time so she couldn’t comment, her spokesperson told other media today.

But it was Maipi-Clarke’s standoff with Winston Peters in Parliament following this year’s budget debate that has got her generation talking. In a TikTok trend, rangatahi Māori are lip-syncing Maipi-Clarke’s rebuttal to Winston Peters’ comments.

Peters’ post budget comments took sudden aim at Maipi-Clarke saying she had only been in the House for five seconds and to “listen to your elders, just hush up and show some manners”.

Peters took exception to the narrative that Maipi-Clarke is the youngest Māori MP, claiming Dobbie Paikea was the youngest, at 19 years of age when he entered Parliament in 1943.

“Let me inform you Maowry (sic) people, Dobbie Paikea was here when he was 19 years of age, so stop showing off,” Peters said.

Maipi Clarke wasn’t scheduled to speak but was afforded the opportunity to do so in reply.

“I find it interesting that one person in this Parliament is so triggered, so intimidated by me. So, if you want to go there, let’s go there,” she said.

“Moumou tō toto Māori, moumou tō toto Māori, moumou tō toto Māori.”

According to parliamentary records, Paikea was in fact 23 when he entered Parliament.

During the 2023 general election held on October 14 last year, Maipi Clarke unseated incumbent Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta by a margin of 2,911 votes.

When she entered Parliament at the age of 21, this made Maipi Clarke the second-youngest person in the history of Parliament to be elected after James Frederick Stuart-Wortley in 1853, who was 20 years old.

Stanford’s comments on Maipi-Clarke were not made about The comments were made at a Kōhanga reo property announcement where she used Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke as an example of someone whose Kōhanga reo experience has played an important part in her life. To be clear, following the comments, the Minister was subsequently asked by the reporter what her reaction was to the statements Rt Hon Winston Peters made towards Ms Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke. Minister Stanford replied “I wasn’t there at the time, I don’t think so, sorry I can’t make any comment.”