Kelvin Davis takes on rising newbie campaigners for Te Tai Tokerau

By Te Ao - Māori News

Expect a tough fight in the northernmost Māori electorate in New Zealand. Te Tai Tokerau ranges from Te Rerenga Wairua all the way south to Auckland.

It is well-known as the home of Ngapuhi but also includes other iwi such as Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu and Ngāti Whatua.

The failure to settle Ngapuhi's Treaty settlement has been a contentious issue between the government and New Zealand's largest iwi, with treaty ministers struggling to reach a deal.

Te Tai Tokerau is one of the six homeless hotspots in New Zealand. The electorate also deals with the highest use of methamphetamine in the country.

Who’s standing?

  • Kelvin Davis

The Incumbent, Kelvin Davis, is not new to the world of politics or hard campaigning. The Labour Party MP has successfully held the Te Tai Tokerau seat since 2014 after a close election with then Mana Party leader Hone Harawira. It was a different story in 2017 when Davis took 53% of the electorate candidate vote. Davis is a Ngāti Manu descendant and an experienced educator.

  • Mariameno Kapa-Kingi

First time Māori Party candidate Mariameno Kapa-Kingi descends from the Far North Iwi Te Aupōuri and Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa. Her big passions include the mental health of young Māori, securing healthy homes for whanau and te reo Māori.

  • Maki Herbert

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party co-leader Maki Herbert has been a consistent candidate for Te Tai Tokerau and firm advocate for the legalisation of marijuana for medical, recreational, and industrial use.

  • Billy Te Kahika

Billy Te Kahika has to be one of the most polarising and popular candidates in this year’s election. Businessman, musician and father of six, Te Kahika is also the son of legendary musician and vocalist Billy TK. The Advance NZ leader has received a lot of attention lately across social media. Te Kahika hails from Ngāti Pahauwere, Puapuha Uekaha and Ngāti Maniapoto.

  • Janice Epiha

One Party candidate Janice Epiha is of Ngati Ruru, Ngati Rangi, Atihaunui A Paparangi, and Ngati Uenuku descent. She studied at Te Wananga O Raukawa, graduating with a masters degree in Maori and management. Since then, she has worked for Ngati Rangi for 10 years as the claims manager.

She also worked for Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa for two years and resigned to support her husband and the He Kakano Housing Project in Kaikohe.

  • Daniel Shortland

Daniel Shortland is the New Conservative candidate for Te Tai Tokerau. He is of both Ngāpuhi and Ngāi Tahu descent. Daniel has been involved in organising and leading various local youth groups around Whangārei and other groups through local community churches.

Now, as a candidate, he says it’s an honour to represent "a party with policies that will make the goal of homeownership more attainable.”


  • Clinton Dearlove
  • Moemoea Mohoawhenua

Past Elections

Tau Henare (New Zealand First/Independent/Mauri Pacific) was the first MP for Te Tai Tokerau, from 1996 to 1999. Dover Samuels (Labour) held Te Tai Tokerau from 1999 to 2005, followed by Hone Harawira (Māori/Independent/Mana) from 2005 to 2014. 

The winning candidate in the 2017 election, Kelvin Davis (Labour Party), captured a majority (54.0%) of the 23,483 valid electorate votes cast for candidates in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

Some 37,000 people are  enrolled to vote in this electorate.

The Electorate

Te Tai Tokerau is a Māori electorate that covers all of Northland from Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua to the North Shore suburbs of Auckland city. The southern boundary bisects the Auckland Harbour Bridge and incorporates the west Auckland communities of Henderson, Swanson, and Waitākere but not the ranges.

23 Other cities and towns within the electorate include Warkworth, Wellsford, Mangawhai, Dargaville, Whangārei, Kaikohe, Paihia, Russell, Kerikeri, and Kaitaia.

Māori Television will broadcast the Te Tai Tokerau debate tonight. Starting at 7 pm, you can watch on our website, the Te Ao Facebook page or Māori Television on Sky and Freeview.