At the candidate selection hui held today at Ruahapia Marae at Waipatu, Hastings, Na Raihania was selected as the successful Maori Party candidate to contest the seat on 29th June.
The selection wananga saw three high calibre candidates present to the Maori Party members gathered at Ruahapia; Te Rangihau Gilbert; Na Raihania and Mark Kopua.
“It has been an amazing day of korero; fuelled by the optimism and the energy of these three wonderful men” said Pem Bird, Maori Party President. “All three spoke about the paramount importance of kotahitanga – the spirit of unity – that had driven them to stand for the Maori Party”.
Mr Raihania has extensive experience in tribal leadership, advocating for workers’ rights, Maori health, corrections, education and Treaty negotiations.
“My greatest apprenticeship for this role has, however, been learning from the inspiration and influence of my father, Nolan. Dad served in the Maori Battalion C Company in 1944, and returned home, determined to honour the service of his friends and whanau, by devoting his life to the community. I have learnt from him, that the people come first and foremost”.
The hui was buoyed by some exciting results from recent polling, revealing that at the start of this campaign, it is a two way race between the Maori Party and the Labour Party .
“A particular strength for us, is the fact that Na had such a brilliant practise run in the 2011 campaign, and we intend to build on that experience and the excitement of today’s turnout, to bring home a Maori Party member of parliament for Ikaroa Rawhiti” said Hon Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party.
“Na brings with him the richness of a whakapapa that extends from Ngati Horowai, Ngati Rangi, Ngati Ira, Te Whanau a Ruataupare, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rakaipaaka, Rongomaiwahine and Ngati Kahungunu” said Hon Dr Pita Sharples. “He is a man of and from the people and the land of this electorate”.
“The Maori Party want to acknowledge both Te Rangihau and Mark for participating in the nomination process. Both of these men display leadership qualities, integrity and absolute commitment to advancing Maori aspirations. We were so impressed with all three candidates that it was indeed a nail biter today.”
Note: Na Raihania will be at Wairoa Freezing Works at 9.30am Sunday 19 May with Dr. Pita Sharples.
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Na is currently a trustee for Ngai Tamanuhiri Iwi, Chair of the iwi board for Tairawhiti District Health Board and Midlands Health Board. Na is also a trustee for Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa and the Kahungunu/Turanganui representative for Te Kawai Taumata.