As the Big Red Labour bus drove through the small streets of Ratana (home of the Maori Ratana faith, a Maori church teaching Christian doctrine) the locals couldn’t have been more delighted. We had finally arrived to meet up with the local Maori Labour candidate Adrian Rurawhe.
Adrian is a keen member of the Ratana Temple and has lived his entire life in the Te Tai Hauauru electorate, the second largest Maori electorate in the country with about 32,000 enrolled voters.
We joined some locals campaigning by the church, and as I sat by the bus I asked Adrian what was the most important thing about being candidate to him. He told me that it is important to him as the Labour candidate, to get back in contact with all the people of Te Tai Hauauru. He also told me that in pursuing that he had driven over 30,000km in the past six months, to get in contact with as many constituents as possible. As a candidate Adrian is very passionate about bringing the Maori community back to Labour.
Although Adrian is a first time candidate, he is not new to campaigning as he grew up in a very political home in Taihape, with his grandfather and then grandmother also former Labour Party MPs.
There is a strong Labour presence within the Te Tai Hauauru community and it is easy to see the upsurge in traditional Maori values, fairness and equality, which has helped Maori people of the area to recognise that Labour is the party for them.
This symbolic visit to Ratana showed that Maori support for Labour is returning.