The Māori Party’s Hauraki-Waikato candidate, Rahui Papa, has represented his marae in the Waikato-Tainui tribal parliament since its inception in 1999.
Papa is a former member of the tribe’s executive committee, Te Arataura, which he has led as chairman since 2013 – but is better known as an expert orator and a recognised authority on Waikato reo, tikanga and tribal history.
Despite the backing of the Kīngitanga, Māori Television's exclusive polling shows Papa lagging behind Labour's Nanaia Mahuta in the race for the Hauraki-Waikato seat.
Regardless, Papa has vowed to battle it out to the end and has been confident he has the ability to sway voters in his direction.
In Māori Television’s Election Aotearoa debate for Hauraki-Waikato, Papa says he is motivated by the backing of the Kīngitanga and will continue to push for the vote right until the bitter end.
According to Election Aotearoa poll results, Mahuta sits on 78%, more than tripling her rival Papa on 22%.