Today two wāhine Māori put their pōtae in the ring to contest the Māori electorates. Green Party MP Marama Davidson announced she will stand again in the Tāmaki Makaurau electorate and the Māori Party has introduced a new player into the Hauraki-Waikato electorate Donna Pokere-Phillips.
Green Party co-leader and Tāmaki Makaurau candidate Marama Davidson told Te Ao, “I just want to thank everyone in Tāmaki Makuarau for the support that you’ve given me in my entire political career. This will be the third time that I will be standing in this electorate, and this time I am proudly asking for the candidate vote as well as the party vote.”
Davidson will be challenging current Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare and the Māori Party's newly elected co-leader John Tamihere.
She says her point of difference is her drive for environmental guardian rights and kaupapa Māori solutions for whānau well-being.
“I will continue to keep that advocacy in the halls of power to insist that our Māori health leadership needs to be at the forefront of our thinking.”
The Māori Party’s latest Hauraki-Waikato candidate, from Taranaki and Tūwharetoa, is Donna Pokere-Phillips, who is not new to the political game. At the last election, she stood for the TOP Party but has changed course.
“In regards to the Māori Party, I just think and feel it was more of a natural fit for me,” she says.
Pokere-Phillips will be taking on the Labour Party’s Nanaia Mahuta who has held this electorate for 21 years. Her legal background at a professional and grassroots level might add a challenge to the race.
“I tend to have one eye on the law and one eye on our people and look in the space where I can foresee in the future. And I guess, that’s the role that I play as well as advocating.”
New Zealand currently has 46 female MPs and of those 11 are Māori.
More wāhine Māori putting themselves forward to represent their electorates could see an increase in their numbers at the NZ general election on 19 September.