Famous face lends support
HE MAY be on the hustings, but Rawiri Paratene has no plans to swap performing for Parliament.
The actor and writer hopes to win the Greens a bigger slice of the party vote in Maungakiekie on November 8.
He’s not on the party list, and says he’s not making a bid for the Beehive.
“I can do some good, I can campaign for the party vote and there’s no risk of me going to Parliament,” he says.
“It seems like a win-win to me.
“If I were to completely upset the polls and win Maungakiekie, I don’t know what would happen.”
A party member for several years, Mr Paratene says he’s been careful in the past about trading on his public profile.
“My publicity work is always related to projects.
“That’s the level of public life I have and I’ve been very careful about that,” he says.
“But I didn’t mind doing this if I can not only keep the Greens in, but also grow their vote.”
The party earned 4 percent of the Maungakiekie party vote in 2005, and Mr Paratene hopes to double that result.
“The only party that really speaks to the transport needs of Maungakiekie is the Greens. They’re the only party looking at viable, sustainable public transport.”
His campaign plan involves knocking on doors and talking to people on the street.
“When I go down to buy my fish and chips people come up to me anyway, so I’m going to shamelessly use that.”
Perhaps best-known as Koro, stubborn kaumatua from the film Whale Rider, his 35-year career has also included screenwriting, theatre, and appearances on Shortland Street.
But he’s still often associated with one of his first television roles.
“It doesn’t matter what I do, I still get recognised for Play School,” he says.
“I’ve been lucky enough in my career to have done a whole variety of things and the recognition is always really positive, and I enjoy it.”
He’s now working on a feature documentary on the impact on whales of ocean noise pollution, from ships, sonar and seismic blasts.
His election campaign will also be interrupted by a film launch in the Netherlands and a wardrobe call for a mini-series in South Africa.
Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says she’s glad to see Mr Paratene offering himself as a candidate.
“Clearly, we’re delighted. Rawiri is a high profile New Zealander and has a lot to offer.
“It’s heartening to have his support in getting across the message.”
Maungakiekie MP Mark Gosche steps down from Parliament this year, with Carol Beaumont taking his place as Labour candidate.
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, first term Auckland city councillor for Maungakiekie, is standing for the National Party.
Other candidates include Denise Krum for United Future and Athol McQuilkan for ACT.
Party plea: Rawiri Paratene is hoping to grow Green Party support in Maungakiekie.