Election 2020: All eyes on Māori MPs after an impressive battle

The Māori Party is likely back in Parliament after a spectacular battle for Waiariki between Rawiri Waititi and Labour’s Tāmati Coffey – with Waititi taking the seat.

The final count may come down to special votes but Waititi has his nose out in front.

As well as that spectacular battle, it was the number of Māori running in this year’s general election that caught the attention of political analyst Chris Wikaira.

“I can’t remember any election where there were as many Māori candidates with a real shot of winning whether they be Labour or National in general electorate seats,” he says.

“The electorate as a whole is now more comfortable with the idea that a Māori can represent in their general seat, because history shows us that Māori wining general seats is the exception, not the rule.”

He says the biggest exception has been Winston Peters.

“He has been the only Māori who won different general seats for two different parties [winning Hunua and Tauranga for National and Northland for NZ First].”

With Peters, a core of Māori veteran political power will exit Parliament with the departure of New Zealand First.

He also praised the Māori Party candidates, with party co-leaders John Tamihere for Tāmaki Makaurau and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer for Te Tai Hauāuru only losing by a small margin.

“If they can keep the group of candidates they had for this election together, to stand the next time, they potentially are in really good shape,” he says.

Tāmati Coffey is one of the 15 Labour Māori list and electorate MPs that have a seat in Parliament for the next term.

Wikaira says Māori eyes are going to be on those Māori MPs to be able to achieve big results.

“The expectation of what they can achieve might even be unrealistic.

“The Māori MPs for Labour campaigned on ‘we’re here, we can do that business, we’re a part of the big party’. They have to push really, really hard with their leadership to get things that Māori want.”

After the 2017 election, Te Ao Māori News reported the numbers of MPs of Māori descent were 13 in the Labour Party, eight in the National Party, six in New Zealand First, one in the Green Party and one in the ACT Party.

Labour has more Māori MPs now than they did in 2017 with 15; Dr Shane Reti and Simon Bridges are in Parliament for the National Party; and ACT and Green have three each; and Rawiri Waititi for The Māori Party.

Seven Māori seats

Kelvin Davis – Labour – Te Tai Tokerau

Peeni Henare – Labour – Tāmaki Makaurau

Nanaia Mahuta – Labour – Hauraki-Waikato

Rawiri Waititi– Māori Party – Waiariki

Adrian Rurawhe – Labour – Te Tai Hauāuru

Meka Whaitiri – Labour – Ikaroa-Rāwhiti

Rino Tirikatene – Labour – Te Tai Tonga


2. Kelvin Davis – Te Tai Tokerau – Electorate win

10. Nanaia Mahuta – Hauraki-Waikato – Electorate win

18. Peeni Henare – Tāmaki Makaurau – Electorate win

19. Willie Jackson – List-only win

24. Adrian Rurawhe – Te Tai Hauāuru – Electorate win

25. Kiri Allan – East Coast – Electorate win

27. Louisa Wall – Manurewa – list-only win

28. Meka Whaitiri – Ikaroa-Rāwhiti – Electorate win

29. Rino Tirikatene – Te Tai Tonga – Electorate win

36. Willow-Jean Prime – Northland – Winning list

37. Tamati Coffey – Waiariki – Winning list

39. Jo Luxton – Rangitata – Electorate win

47. Paul Eagle – Rongotai – Electorate win

51. Shanan Halbert – Northcote – Electorate win

58. Arena Williams – Manurewa – Electorate win


4. Simon Bridges – Tauranga – Electorate win

5. Dr Shane Reti – Whangārei – Electorate win


1. David Seymour – Electorate win

3. Nicole McKee – list win

7.Karen Chhour – list win


1. Marama Davidson – winning list

8. Teanau Tuiono – list win

9. Elizabeth Kerekere – list win


Paula Bennett – National – (retired)

Jamie-Lee Ross – resigned into Advance NZ party

Nuk Korako – National – retired

Winston Peters – NZ First (list only)

Ron Mark – NZ First (electorate – Wairarapa)

Shane Jones – NZ First (electorate – Northland)

Jenny Marcroft – NZ First (electorate – Auckland central)

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