Press release – The Maori Party
Outgoing Bay of Plenty Regional Councilor Toi Kai Rkau Iti will campaign for re-election to his Kohi constituency seat under the Mori Party ticket. As an independent, Councilor Iti believes he has succeeded alongside the other two constituencies in the region…
Outgoing Bay of Plenty Regional Councilor Toi Kai Rākau Iti will campaign for re-election to his Kohi constituency seat under the Maori Party ticket.
As an independent, Councilor Iti believes he has been successful, alongside the two other Maori Constituency Councilors in the area, in influencing pro-Maori changes in the Regional Council. However, he now feels that partnering with Te Pāti Māori will help him coordinate his localized efforts with a national movement.
“As its name suggests, local government is local. It is the government, with all its colonial functions and constructions, right in your rohe. This is where the policy, established in Wellington, is deployed in your backyard, your awa, your moana, your whenua. Maori need to work together to meet the challenge of interacting with this particular manifestation of the crown. For me, Te Pāti Māori is a good vehicle to achieve this.
Te Pāti Māori chairman John Tamihere says the party is delighted to have Iti on board.
“We are proud that Toi is running for Bay of Plenty Regional Council under the banner of Te Pāti Māori. Maori have the opportunity to participate in the second highest level of governance in Aotearoa and we must seize this opportunity, just as You did. It truly marks the dawn of a new era for our people as You’s Generation raises their hands to advance our cause at the local government level,” Tamihere said.
Rawiri Waititi, co-leader and MP for Waiariki for Te Pāti Māori said that although Toi is the son of Tame Iti, one of the most prolific Maori activists in advancing mana motuhake in Aotearoa history , he leaves his own mark.
“You are a leader in your own right. Being an unabashed Maori voice is in his DNA. He has already made significant changes during his tenure as councilor for the Bay of Plenty area and we look forward to helping him achieve more.
For Iti, being shameless Maori and working for the community as a whole are not mutually exclusive goals.
Iti says: “Some people feel uncomfortable when you vigorously defend Maori perspectives and indigenous rights. But often it says more about that person’s fragility and biases than it does about your approach to advocacy. To be pro-Maori is not to be anti-Pakeha. It is rather to say that what is good for the Maoris is good for everyone. This means that when the Maori are well, the taiao and the whole community are well. I will not hesitate to bring this strong Maori voice to the local government table to align with the style of advocacy that my colleagues bring to Parliament”
Councilor Iti is standing for re-election to Bay of Plenty Regional Council in Kohi Constituency.