Māori Party plans its return to Parliament in 2023

By Tumamao Harawira

The Māori Party has an enormous job ahead to return to Parliament after the next election and, after just seven months back in Parliament, there were many issues to discuss at their planning retreat in Armour Bay on the shores of the Manukau Harbour.

In 2020, the Māori Party returned to Parliament off the back of Rāwiri Waititi's win in the Te Waiariki seat. He was joined by Debbie Ngārewa-Packer, who made it on the list. With the party enjoying a resurgence in the House this was a chance for the leadership to meet and plan a path forward

"We want the Māori Party to be at the crux of that House. With National on one side and Labour on the other," co-Leader Waititi says.

It's been an eventful few months for the Māori Party in Parliament. Its MPs been in a constant battle with National over what they say is racist rhetoric by National over its attacks on the He Puapua report.

Taking on racism

 Ngārewa-Packer says they have ensured an unapologetic Māori voice is delivered, "holding the government to account but also taking on the opposition, particularly opposition that incites racism."

Waititi agrees: "We stand as Māori in our own way, we aren't being dictated to, how we should stand, how we should talk, what we should be talking about, and that we should be quiet, no."

Party president Che Wilson is clear that longevity is a key goal for them in the House.

"We don't want just another two years, we want many years after that."

But with Labour continuing as the preferred party of choice for Māori, staying in Parliament will be no easy feat for the Māori Party.