WAATEA NEWS COLUMN: Māori Politics 2017 – wins and losses


2017 was an explosive year for Māori politics and the election reshaped the political landscape in a dramatic fashion wiping out Māori Party and MANA Party aspirations while leaving the Labour Party with an enormous obligation to Māori voters.

Here were some of the big wins and losses this year in Māori politics

Wins –

The Māori Labour Caucus: An unprecedented 13 members makes the Māori Caucus the largest faction now inside the Labour Party, and if they were to create a Pan-Māori Caucus that includes other Māori from other political parties they could be the largest faction inside Parliament. This carries an enormous amount of power and obligation, if they can’t generate real change there will be an enormous backlash.

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Willie Jackson: Jackson started the beginning of the year being hounded by Labour Identity Politics activists when he joined Labour but as Māori Campaign Manager managed to win all Māori electorates, eliminated National’s safety rope to government with the Māori Party and boosted the Party vote in general electorates and all Māori electorates as well. It is a remarkable political turn around.

E-Tangata: One of the successes in Māori political media was the ongoing strength of the E-Tangata blog which continues to produce some of the best critical Māori opinion pieces in New Zealand.

The return of John Tamihere: Tamihere’s return to political punditry on the mainstream media panels has been a welcome inclusion of an important voice in modern Māori politics.

Kiri Allan: Is part of the new generation of Māori political leadership and a future superstar inside Labour.

Kelvin Davis: As Deputy Leader, Kelvin has broken a glass ceiling for Māoridom and there are huge expectations on him to reform the nightmare that the NZ prison system has become.

Real change in social policy directed at Māori: With so much political muscle there are high hopes that the punitive welfare and corrections policies of National will be swept aside for genuine progress rather than punishment and sticks.

Marama Davidson: If she can become the new co-Leader of the Green Party she will have real power to go with the promise.


Losses –

Demise of MANA Magazine: It was sad to see MANA magazine fall in upon itself and the bitterness between the Editor and the Publisher laid bare.

Hone Harawira: One of the great voices against Māori injustice, in the end he couldn’t defeat Kelvin and with his loss goes the hopes of the MANA Party restoring itself into Parliament again.

The Māori Party: It was sad to see them go, but not unexpected, after symbolically propping National up in Government with very little to show, they shouldn’t have been surprised at the result.

Marama Fox: She was such a unique voice and Leader, she deserves her own recognition as a loss. She was able to articulate real life experience while having the vision for change. She will be a giant loss in Parliament.

Metiria Turei: After her courageous admission that she was forced to lie to keep the welfare to feed her child, she was horribly let down by political mismanagement and Green Party incompetence to ensure she was safe.

Maori King’s rejection of Labour: It was a terrible strategic blunder and one that has damaged relations.

First published on Waateanews.com


  1. Another win surely: Paul Eagle winning a general seat in Rongotai, polling as well as his popular predecessor Annette King, and especially reversing National’s 2014 win of the Party Vote.

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