Te Puni Kōkiri welcomes new Māori Development Minister

Te Puni Kōkiri is geared to support a new suite of leaders and, for the first time ever, a wahine is steering the waka as its Minister for Māori Development.

Published: Monday, 13 November 2017 | Rāhina, 13 Whiringa ā-rangi, 2017

Stepping into the role of Māori Development Minister is Nanaia Mahuta of Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Hine. Not only is she the first female Minister of Māori Development, but also the first female Member of Parliament to wear a moko kauae.

The Honorable Nanaia Mahuta was welcomed to Te Puni Kōkiri at a pōwhiri last week, along with most of the new Māori caucus.

She said she is honoured to take on the new position as Māori Development Minister, bringing the portfolio back into Cabinet “where it belongs”.

“Māori are affected by every decision that is made in Government and it is important that we are considering our people in all the decisions we make,” she said.

“I am looking forward to working with Te Puni Kōkiri to find out what the aspirations of our people are and to help them succeed as Māori.”

She said that inequality and poverty were issues that this government would not tolerate and that she will utilise the entire Māori caucus to find solutions.

The Labour MP has been in Parliament for more than 20 years. She is also the Minister for Local Government and the Associate Minister for the Environment.

Te Puni Kōkiri chief executive Michelle Hippolite extended her congratulations to the Hon Minister Mahuta and they have already had a series of productive meetings together.

Minister Mahuta last served as a cabinet minister in the fifth Labour government between late 1999 and 2008.

She has previously been a spokesperson for Māori Development, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Whānau Ora and has acted as both the chairperson and deputy of the Māori Affairs Select Committee.


Willie Jackson – Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Kahungunu

Taking on the job as Associate Māori Development Minister is Willie Jackson.

He told the pōwhiri at Te Puni Kōkiri that he is proud to be supporting the wahine toa that is Nanaia Mahuta, and it is important that we are on the same waka.

“We need to work together to get the best outcomes for all Māori.”    

The Honourable Willie Jackson is a former urban Māori chief executive and award-winning radio and television broadcaster.

He is also the Minister of Employment.

Peeni Henare - Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare is the Minister of Whānau Ora, a central kaupapa for Te Puni Kōkiri and one that is close to the organisations heart.

He is also the Minister for Youth, Minister for Community and Voluntary Sector, and Associate Minister for Social Development.

At the pōwhiri last week, Mr Henare extended a warm mihi to Te Puni Kōkiri and expressed his desire to work closely in the future.

He said his range of portfolios, which includes youth and the community, remind him of work on the marae and he is eager to contribute to a better future for Māori.

Crown/Māori Relations

Te Puni Kōkiri has briefed the new ministers of Crown/Māori Relations, recognising that the organisation has key insights into this space.


Kelvin Davis – Ngāpuhi

The Minister for Crown/Māori Relations is Kelvin Davis, who is the Labour Party deputy leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP.

The Honourable Kelvin Davis also stands as Minister for Corrections, Minister for Tourism and Associate Minister of Education.

He said he is looking forward to making a difference and supporting his colleagues.

“I’m excited to take the newly created role of Crown/Māori Relations,” he said.

“To work with iwi Māori and Māori organisations in the post-Treaty Settlement environment.”

Before entering politics, Mr Davis worked as a teacher and principal.

Meka Whaitiri - Ngāti Kahungunu

The MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Meka Whaitiri is the Associate Minister for Crown/Māori Relations.

She is also the Minister of Customs, Associate Minister of Agriculture, and Associate Minister for Local Government.

Ms Whaitiri was a mandated Treaty negotiator for Rongowhakaata iwi and held the role of Chief Executive of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated for four years.

She was Deputy Secretary in the Department of Labour, and was previously a senior adviser to the Minister of Māori Affairs