Lawyer Rahui Katene is the new Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Tonga.
In February Ms Katene missed out to chosen candidate Monte Ohia but selections opened again after his death last month.
Te Tai Tonga electorate council co-chairman Raymond Hina said Ms Rahui would be “an excellent representative” for the largest electorate in the country.
Te Tai Tonga covers the South Island, Rakiura (Stewart Island), the Chatham Islands, Wellington and parts of the Hutt Valley.
If serving the big general electorates like Waitaki which covers an area of 34,888 square kilomteres, West Coast-Tasman with 38, 042 square kilomteres or Clutha Southland with 38,247 square kilometres, is demanding, how can anyone hope to cover Te Tai Tonga with an area of 161,443 square kilometres?
The Maori Party was confident that they’d take the seat from the incumbent, Mahara Okeroa. That task is a bit more difficult with the later start following the need to do another selection but Okeroa does not have a high profile.
I am not sure how well he is known by his constituents, and he may feature regularly in Maori media. But he doesn’t have much of a profile in general media. I read The Press and ODT every day and I have not noticed him advocating on issues which concern local iwi, for example Meridian’s plans for the Waitaki River.
He may use other means to communicate with his constituents, but advocating for them means representing their concerns to the wider public too.