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Seeing life through a Maori lens

Mekea-Whaitiri.jpg

Meka Whaitiri, MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, is contesting the seat for the first time at a general election. She entered Parliament through a by-election in June last year, following the death of her predecessor Parekura Horomia.

I'm a Māori MP, for a Māori electorate. I see life through a Māori lens. So our policies for the election are policies that relate to my voters.

This campaign is very different to my first election. Parekura Horomia was a close family friend and we went from grieving to campaigning with just 24-hours’ notice.

It was crazy, but I was fortunate that many of my family had campaigned for Parekura so they had campaign experience.

This is a very big electorate – running from the East Coast to Wainuiomata – it’s an 11 hour trip driving from bottom to top – so that makes campaigning fairly challenging!

We address that by having campaign teams spread across the electorate. The biggest group is my family in Hawkes Bay. But also in Wairoa, Napier, Hastings, the Hutt Valley, and Gisborne.

We have a lot more volunteers for this campaign and we are into succession planning so there a lot of young people. There’s a lot of excitement and a real "can do" attitude. Our campaign team isn't shy to ask for help from other areas. 

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