Howie Tamati to stand for Maori party

Howie Tamati, ex rugby league international and New Plymouth District councillor for 15 years, has been selected to stand for the Maori Party in the Te Tai Hauauru  electorate in next year’s election. It was held by Tariana Turia until 2014 when she retired.

Stuff: Howie Tamati named as Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Hauauru seat

A former New Plymouth District Councillor has won the battle for selection as Maori Party candidate in the Te Tai Hauauru seat at next year’s election.

Now he faces an even bigger challenge, to get around the enormous electorate and rouse the support he will need to take the seat off Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe.

“Without a standing MP, a lot of the electorate has gone to sleep, we Maori Party electors need to be reawakened, renergised and reconnected back to the party,” he said. 

Tamati was chosen ahead of South Taranaki’s Debbie Ngarewa-Packer by the Maori Party at a meeting on Saturday.

“When my name got read out it was quite overwhelming,” he said.

“But I was buoyed by the support I’ve been given and the large group of people who came with me to the meeting, I felt really empowered.”

Tamati, of Te Atiawa, Ngati Mutunga and Ngai Tahu, is current chief executive of Sport Taranaki and was a New Plymouth District councillor for 15 years.

He is a former international rugby league player and coach and is the president of NZ Rugby League. 

He formally announced his intention to seek the candidacy in June at Maui Pomare Day celebrations at Waitara’s Owae Marae, his home marae.

He said then the Maori Party was a good fit for him and he was committed to tikanga and to working towards what was best for tangata whenua.

One of the issues he was keen to push if he was elected into Parliament, would be the issue of Maori representation in local body politics.

Rurawhe won the seat in 2014 standing for Labour after Tariana Turia retired:

  • Adrian Rurawhe (Labour) 8,089
  • Chris McKenzie (Maori) 6,535
  • Jack Tautokai McDonald (Greens) 3,004
  • Jordan Winiata (Mana) 1,940

Will Greens not stand a candidate to help Labour? Would it help Labour?

2011 election:

  • Tariana Turia (Maori) 8,433
  • Soraya Waiata Peke-Mason (Labour) 5,212
  • Jack Tautokai McDonald (Greens) 2,007
  • Frederick Timutimu (Mana) 1,513