Former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says Ngāti Wai whanaunga Dr Shane Reti has the whakapapa to lead the National Party but has to decide whether he wants the job.
"He's a very intelligent guy, so you're quite right, he is related to me," Peters joked in an interview with Te Ao political reporter Rukuwai Tipene-Allen.
National's Judith Collins was sacked as party leader on Thursday, and her deputy Dr Reti installed as interim leader until next week when a decision will be made on her replacement.
Peters, who compared National's political woes to a 'leaky waka', used the analogy of Mataatua waka stopping at Ngāti Wai for repairs in early times to suggest Dr Reti has the whakapapa to help fix the party's problems.
"You've got to remember that when Mataatua canoe came past a place called Whananāki, or Ngāti Wai at Whananāki, it came ashore to fix up its leaks on that waka, Peters said.
"And in that story, and it's their story, not ours - go and ask them on the east coast - the local people helped them fix it."
Peters said someone like Dr Reti with his background is what the National Party need right now. "Mr Reti is Ngāti Wai as well."
"That's what you need now, some serious experience to fix up that leaky waka."
Dr Reti has to put up his hand for the job and believe he can win, said Peters.
"The race does not always go to the strongest or fastest man, or for that matter woman, for sooner or later the man that wins is the one that thinks he can, he said.
"And I don't know whether Shane wants to run, or he wants to win but he's got himself about three days to make up his mind," Peters said with a smile.