Rino is one of a new generation of Māori MPs, committed to serving his people and rejuvenating Labour in Te Tai Tonga. He successfully won the seat in the 2011 election, defeating the incumbent. He represents the largest electorate in the country.
Rino has deep connections across Ngai Tahu on his paternal side, and to Ngati Hine in the Far North on his maternal side. Historically his family has given significant parliamentary service to Māori in Te Waipounamu and Labour in the Southern Māori electorate (1932-1996).
Rino is a passionate believer in Māori development and social justice. Coming from a close-knit, hard-working whanau he has had his depth of concern and awareness of service for people nurtured from a young age.
Prior to entering parliament, Rino had over fourteen years’ experience working in Māori economic development roles. These included working as a private consultant on inter-indigenous development projects between Maori and the Pacific, Chief Executive of the Federation of Māori Authorities advocating for Māori land based organisations, working for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu within its seafood businesses and leading government trade promotion initiatives across Māori business sectors. He has an understanding of legal and commercial issues as a result of his early career as a commercial lawyer.
Rino has been an effective member of parliament, being appointed to many spokesperson roles including Customs and Tourism, and associate roles in Maori Affairs, Small Business and Forestry.
- MP for Te Tai Tonga
- Spokesperson for Customs and Fisheries
- Led project to establish Te Ohu Kaimoana as an accredited International Development NGO, and become the first pan-Māori organisation to move into international development under the government’s new economic development aid mandate
- Successfully completed projects for Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) spearheading activities in Papua New Guinea and Bougainville aimed at forging relationships with Māori resource interests and PNG resource owners and development groups
- Over four years in legal practice in a national law firm specialising in corporate business law