Howie Tamati tackled short of election line
Ma¯ ori Party candidate for the Te Tai Haua¯ruru electorate, Howie Tamati, has come up short in his bid to unseat Labour Party incumbent MP Adrian Rurawhe.
Before the election Tamati was being touted as a possible kingmaker in a new Government.
With all election night votes counted, Rurawhe had a 1135 majority over Tamati.
Of the 17,910 votes counted, Rurawhe had 8038 to Tamati’s 6903 - a 58.1 per cent lead to Labour, with the Ma¯ ori Party on 14.9 per cent.
Tamati was with supporters at Mururaupatu Marae, Te Arei Rd, Bell Block, near New Ply- mouth, watching results come in.
The mood was bouyant with singing and music but reality was kicking in amongst supporters that Tamati would miss out becoming an MP.
‘‘I know I have done my best and my team have done their best to win,’’ he said.
Tamati said he had never been in an election race before and it was all new to him.
‘‘I can’t tackle anyone, I can’t run past anyone, I can’t score a try, I’ve just got to sit back and let the spectators make the decision,’’ he said.
The former Kiwi rugby league representative, and NZ Rugby League president, had been strongly touted to take the seat.
Tamati, of Ngati Mutunga, Te Atiawa, and Ngai Tahu affiliation, was attempting to regain the seat for the Ma¯ori Party after it was lost to Rurawhe in the 2014 election.
Ma¯ori Party leader Dame Tariana Turia had held the seat for the party from 2004 until she retired in 2014.
Turia previously held the seat for Labour between 1996-2004.
The electorate includes the iwi of Taranaki, Whanganui, Horowhenua, Manawatu, the Kapiti Coast and Porirua, along with Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Maniapoto.
Tamati had polled ahead of Rurawhe, of Ngati Apa, who was party spokesman on Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, in the lead up to the election.
New Zealand needed the Ma¯ori Party’s voice in parliament, he said.
Maori Party candidate Howie Tamati