The first of the Māori electorate debates start tonight on Māori Television, with the candidates for Te Tai Hauāuru.
“The Māori seats have always been pivotal to an election and our coverage will focus on providing factual balanced information to allow Māori communities to make informed choices,” Māori Television tāhuhu rangapū Shane Taurima says.
One of the key topics of discussion in the Te Tai Hauāuru debate will be the impact Covid-19 has had on Māori in the electorate.
Te Tai Hauāuru, like many other regions, felt the impacts of Covid-19 this year. Between mid-March and early May, the Manawatū/Whanganui area saw a spike of more than 10,000 people seeking special needs grants for food. In the same period, the Taranaki region saw more than 2,000 people join the jobseekers support benefit, according to Statistics New Zealand.
However, while the effects of a national shutdown were being felt across the country with a lot of industries slowing or closing down, Te Tai Hauāuru's strong agriculture and farming backbone kept the economic impact of Covid-19 to one of the lowest in the country.
Hosted by journalist and lawyer David Jones, Labour's Adrian Rurawhe and the Māori Party's Debbie Ngarewa-Packer will take part in this debate.
This year’s candidates for Te Tai Hauāuru are:
- Labour Party - Adrian Rurawhe (Incumbent)
Adrian Rurawhe has won the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate in the past two elections. He has been involved in a lot of community and iwi groups, including being the chairperson of Ngāti Apa for the past 10 years. He is the grandson of Matiu and Iriaka Ratana, who were both MPs for Western Māori.
“I will always place the wellbeing of whānau at the centre of every decision I make and everything that I do, as the member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauāuru,” he says.
- Māori Party - Debbie Ngarewa-Packer
Debbie Ngarewa-Paker is Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahine and Ngā Rauru. For more than 20 years, she has been an advocate for whānau, the environment, racial equity and future opportunities for rangatahi. She is no stranger to calling out the government on many different issues, including health, social justice, education and institutional racism.
- Outdoors Party - Kiri McKee
Tūhoe descendant Kiri McKee was born in Auckland but grew up in the small Taranaki town of Stratford. She now lives in Whanganui and is a proud grandmother committed to protecting the future of children. McKee's messages and tone reflect the vision of the Outdoors Party, which promotes more self-sufficiency for New Zealanders, better care of the environment and wildlife, and more transparent leadership resulting in more people's views being valued.
- New Conservative Party – Josh Morgan
New Conservative Party candidate Josh Morgan is a husband and father raised near Te Awamutu. He has spent a large part of his life working in the dairy industry and the past two years working in drainlaying, trenching, and thrusting for wastewater and stormwater systems. A newcomer to politics, Morgan says he became interested in standing as a candidate when he noticed the direction the country is heading in and decided he wanted to make a difference.
- One Party - Korrallie Taurua
Korrallie Taurua is a 59-year-old mother, wife, grandmother and great-grandmother. She is a descendant of Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi. Taurua says her work and passion are for the community, iwi advancement, and whānau and hapū development.
"My mission is to stir the hearts of the nation, whether that is done in a political arena or done through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I choose to arise and pursue righteous change as tangata whenua here in Aotearoa New Zealand," she says.
In the 2017 election, Rurawhe took the seat with 21,751 votes. The Māori Party’s Howie Tamati came second with 8,752 votes and the Green Party’s Jack McDonald was third with 2,798.
Rurawhe has held the Te Tai Hauāuru seat since 2014 after the Māori Party's Tariana Turia retired from parliament. Other former holders of the seat include Tukoroirangi Morgan (New Zealand First, then Mauri Pacific) from 1996 to 1999 and Nanaia Mahuta (Labour), who held the seat from 1999 to 2002.
The electorate covers the western North Island. Some of the main centres it includes are Tokoroa, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North and Porirua.
It is also home to Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Haua, Ngā Ruahine, Taranaki and Ngāti Raukawa to name a few iwi.
There are more than 34,000 people enrolled on the Māori roll to vote in this electorate. The biggest age group is the 18-24 year-olds (4,377) with 25-29 year-olds the second-largest age group (3,819).
Te Tai Hauāuru was established for the first MMP election in 1996 and is the second-largest Māori electorate in land area. Before its establishment, it was part of the Western Māori electorate, one of the four original Māori electorates that were established in 1867. Ten general electorates intersect with the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate.
Māori Television 2020 Coverage
Hosted by journalist David Jones, the seven debates start this Monday, featuring candidates from each of the seven Māori seats. An eighth special te reo Māori debate, open to all the main party candidates in the general seats, will also be broadcast on Tuesday, 6 October.
Debate #1 - Te Tai Hauāuru Monday, 28 September
Debate #2 - Ikaroa Rāwhiti Wednesday, 30 September
Debate #3 - Hauraki-Waikato Thursday, 1 October
Debate #4 - Waiariki Sunday, 4 October
Debate #5 - National (Reo Māori) Tuesday, 6 October
Debate #6 - Te Tai Tonga Wednesday, 7 October
Debate #7 - Te Tai Tokerau Thursday, 8 October
Debate #8 - Tāmaki Makaurau Sunday, 11 October
Where to watch?
Māori Television will broadcast the Te Tai Hauāuru debate this Monday, starting at 7pm. You can watch on: our website, the Te Ao Facebook page or Māori Television on Sky and Freeview.