Manurewa Marae CEO Takutai Moana Kemp to stand in Tāmaki Makaurau

By Will Trafford

Takutai Moana Kemp will stand for the Māori party, in the Tāmaki Makaurau electorate.  Photo / Te Pāti Māori

A prominent face of the Covid-19 response and a vocal social justice activist has been announced as the Māori party candidate for Tāmaki Makaurau, in October's general election.

The candidacy of Manurewa Marae chief executive Takutai Moana Natasha Kemp was announced at the Waitangi @ Waititi music festival in West Auckland yesterday.

Kemp was successful in vaccinating thousands of whānau Māori and tauiwi during the Covid-19 crisis, but her roots in Auckland run deeper.

She took hip-hop dancers of Aotearoa to a global stage as the director of Hip Hop International, while her community work has seen her a tireless campaigner for housing affordability and against the cost of living crisis.

“I’m here because there was a tono from a group of rangatahi who asked me to stand for our hāpori of Tāmaki Makaurau, Kemp said.

“Rangatahi were asking for a voice they trusted, who they had seen show aroha, manaakitanga and leadership. Most importantly, someone who believed in them. For too long, our rangatahi have been told to wait [for] their time - now is their time.”

Track record of hard mahi

Te Pāti Māori president John Tamihere says Kemp is a relentless campaigner for Māori and non-Māori.

“She has worked for decades in the health and community development sector and has an intimate understanding of the daily struggles our people face in Tāmaki," Tamihere said.

"Without her leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic, South Auckland would have emerged worse for wear. She has migrated her way to leadership through hard work and has a track record to prove it,”

Kemp says she's seen whānau with zero money to put kai on the table being hit even harder by the pandemic and now the floods but she also argues Māori, especially rangatahi Māori have solutions, and they need to be empowered.

“Through my years of working with rangatahi and whānau in our hāpori, I’ve heard the vibrancies, I’ve seen the potential," Kemp says.

"It’s time for our people to rise and to have that belief in who we are as tangata whenua. To be brave, to be hopeful, to inspire, to take action. This is the time for our people to fight for what we believe in and take action."

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