Meka Whaitiri recently told Labour Voices “I am a Māori MP, for a Māori electorate. I see life through a Māori lens.” Sons Nohorua, 17, and Wi Rangi, 16, have been looking through a different lens – making campaign videos for their mother. Here Nohorua Parata discusses how he and his brother support Meka’s campaign.
I’m a boarder at Lindisfarne College in Hastings, where I’m a sports and kapa haka prefect. Wi Rangi is at the school too – but we go home at weekends.
I guess where we are different to many kids of our age is that we have grown up in a political environment. Mum was a public servant before she was an MP, working in Parliament for my godfather Parekura Horomia – “Papa”, her predecessor as MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti.
I always enjoyed visiting them at the Beehive and, for as long as I can remember, we have helped out on campaigns – delivering pamphlets and putting up billboards.
I suppose, growing up in an environment like that, I recognise more than most young people of my age how important politics is. That’s especially true having seen the good that Papa did. He did so much for the community and for Māori.
For everything he did that the public knew about, he did a lot more below the radar because it wasn’t for self promotion or admiration, it was because he was a good man inside and out. I was so proud to have him as my godfather. He was one of the strongest influences on making me the person I have become.
He always believed in Mum. They were best friends and he trusted her and prepared her to fill his shoes as MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti
We were all traumatised by Papa’s passing but we had to move quickly from mourning to the campaign – because that is what he would have wanted. Mum talked with the whanau and with me and my brother about it. We encouraged her to go for the candidacy and told her we would support her all the way and we’re just as proud of her too.
Mum works really hard as an MP in the electorate but she works hard for us too. No matter how busy she is she always tries to get to the things we are doing, like rugby games
Wi Rangi and I made the first video to support Mum’s bid for the candidacy and then made the campaign video for her first election campaign.
My brother and I are known for goofing around a bit at events – the night Mum was elected we got the mic off the Māori reporter and began interviewing each other. The campaign is really hard work and I think we help to keep the vibe positive. There’s a bit of that in the videos – see for yourself Watch here
Now I’m just working on making the video for this election campaign. It’s a bit of a challenge for me to do it as I have a lot on at school at the moment but it’s important to me to get it done. One way I feel I can really help is to engage young voters and male voters and get the message across about why it’s important that they vote.
The theme of this one is me telling people what could happen if they don’t vote – but I’m not letting on any more, people will have to watch it. I aim to make it funny because humour is one of the best ways to connect with younger voters. It’s the key to breaking down certain barriers.
This election is different to the last. That was big but this is the whole country. The main message of the video is to male voters and young voters. You need to get out there, get registered – and once you have done that, don’t wait for the polling booth to open – get your vote in as soon as early voting starts.
Watch this space for Nohorua’s next video.