Māori in Australia call for help from Māori candidates

By Ripeka Timutimu

Many Māori in Australia are hungry for our Māori culture, and haka groups and atārangi classes are serving as a community base, a base they say Māori politicians are ignoring this election.   

For most Māori in Australia, identity loss is their reality.

Louise Barber has lived in Australia for 20 years, and she's part of a group aiming to establish a marae to connect the people here.

She says, “We’ve looked at different elements of our culture that have eroded here.  Reo is a big one, tikanga is a massive one.”

“We have to be realistic and provide those services for the people who are coming here.  How do they get into employment, how do they get bank accounts, how do they get certificated so that they can work?” continues Louise.

As an active voter, Louise wants more support at the grassroots level in Australia from Māori candidates.

She says, “In 2012, the MANA Party came, the Māori Party came, but in this current election, we haven't seen them here.

 At the moment, we would project we have 156,000 Māori here in Australia, and yet where are they?  We're a big part of that human capital that can contribute to back home.”

Their requests may not be election priorities, but for now, these Māori will continue to hold strong to their reo and tikanga.