McKenzie succeeds Turia
Maori Party adviser and former Treaty negotiator Chris McKenzie has been announced as outgoing co-leader Tariana Turia’s replacement in Te Tai Hauauru.
Turia is to retire from national politics at the next election, along with former co-leader Pita Sharples.
The party announced a shortlist of six candidates to contest the Te Tau Hauauru seat earlier this month with former Tokoroa High School teacher McKenzie declared the winner.
Turia, who has held the western North Island seat since 2002, called McKenzie a proven fighter for his iwi and said he would now be able to apply that to the wider electorate.
‘‘He’s smart beyond his years, gets both our young and old people, loves our people and really wants to make a difference for them,’’ she said.
‘‘Chris knows how our people work, how the system works and with him at the helm, I have no worries retiring because I know our people will be in good and capable hands.’’
Maori Party president Naida Glavish said McKenzie would work to grow on Turia’s achievements including Whanau Ora, maintaining the Maori seats, addressing poverty and Maori training initiatives, ‘‘just to name a few,’’ she said.
McKenzie, whose iwi is Ngati Raukawa, is currently a political strategist with the Maori Party and has a background in management, small business and iwi leadership.
He was the lead Treaty settlement negotiator for Ngati Raukawa, a self-employed consultant, education manager at Raukawa Trust Board and recently gained a masters degree in business administration.
A father of four, he and his wife Mal moved to Tawa from his home town of Tokoroa.
Political success: Chris McKenzie and Tariana Turia.