Local Council elctions - Māori candidates putting in the hard yards

By Harata Brown

Local Council elections are already heating up with some Māori candidates putting in the hard yards now, vying for positions in two of the biggest Māori districts in Auckland city.  

Wiremu Flavell is the only Māori currently sitting on The Henderson-Massey Local Board. Now, three other Māori contestants hope to join him.   

Wiremu Flavell (Ngāpuhi, Waikato-Maniapoto) says, “I believe that the local board needs to truly represent the diversity of Henderson-Massey, therefore we have four participants for Labour Henderson-Massey team striving for the eight places"

Tiaria Fletcher (Te Arawa) says, “I want to have a place and I want to have a space where we can stop talking about what's wrong with Māori. But actually provide a space for Māori to come in and be a part of the solution.”

Paula (Te Arawa) says, “All of these decisions at a local board level impact on our people, whether we know it or not, so for the four of us we are just wanting things to be brought to those local board meetings that Maori will view will be considered.”

Henderson-Massey is the second largest Māori district in Auckland, with Manurewa-Papakura local board district being the largest.

Manurewa-Papakura Local Board contestant Rangi McLean however, believes that putting up too many Māori in one electorate can split votes.

Rangi McLean candidate, Manurewa-Papakura says, “If other Māori stand, of course it will be like that. Votes will be taken by candidates and their supporters, therefore taking votes from one another.”   

McLean is a member of the Manurewa Action Team. The team cleaned up at the last local elections, where they nabbed all the positions on the Manurewa-Papakura Local Board. McLean is hoping that he too can also grab a spot through their ticket.

McLean says, “That's the good thing about this situation, your votes can be a team vote.”

Voting for local elections closes at midday, October 8.