The Maori and Mana parties both purport to represent Maori.
In as much as they are in parliament by dint of winning Maori seats they do. But only about half of Maori opt to be included on the Maori roll and these electorates usually have the smallest proportion of people who bother to vote.
This means at best they represent a small group of Maori.
That’s not surprising because there are many Maori voices and views, a point which John Moore, guest posting at Liberation makes:
. . . The left in New Zealand lost its way a long time ago, and now it is simply incapable of analysing Maori politics from a class perspective. So for example, leftists just can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that a section of Maoridom now has an inherent interest in the promotion of right-wing policies. A consequence of this non-class centred perspective is that corporate/pro-capitalist statements coming from the likes of the Maori party, the Iwi Leaders Group, and yes even the Maori Council, are all presented as anomalies or aberrations.
Why anomalies? Because the left generally sees all Maori as an oppressed group that is instinctively progressive, anti-corporate and anti-capitalist. But such a viewpoint is just plain wrong. Since the transfer of millions of dollars of assets to Maori tribal organisations over the last few decades, a Maori corporate class has emerged with its own distinct interests and politics. Yet the left prefers to see this Maori elite as ‘selling out’ (as opposed to the reality of them simply following their logical class interests). . .
Rather than selling out, those iwi which have completed Treaty settlements and invested them wisely are taking their people from grievance to growth. They are standing on their own feet and prospering.
That might not please the left which fosters dependence in the hope of buying a constituency but it is better not just for Maori but the whole of New Zealand .
There is no single Maori voice because there is no single Maori view. Some, sadly are still looking behind, but others are looking ahead and keen to leave dependence in the past and use their skills and assets for development.