Fa­mous face lends sup­port

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

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.

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