It is a three-way contest in the Maori electorates between Labour, the Maori Party and the Mana Party.
While competition is healthy, such a situation will fragment and dilute the influence of the Maori vote. Under MMP we have more Maori in Parliament, but unless Maori vote strategically we could have a reduction in the number of Maori members returned, and Maori-issue parties could lose strength.
Labour, the Maori Party and Mana represent different approaches to advancing Maori interests. Labour believes in social democracy - if we bring everyone up then Maori will rise too. But for the past century the rest of New Zealand has been moving forward while Maori have been at the bottom.
The Maori Party embodies a different approach - change from within; a careful cultivation of relationships and, for the most part, heavy compromise. The Maori Party hit back citing Whanau Ora or the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People as the fruits of compromise.
Hone Harawira formed the Mana Party in response to the Maori Party "selling out". Mana believes in effecting change from the outside. It is looking to build a movement and force change from the streets. The reasoning is easy to dismiss, but once a movement hits critical mass anything can happen.
With the above in mind, how do Maori vote strategically in electorates?
Te Tai Tokerau
Vote Hone Harawira. Kelvin Davis will be returned via the list. But on current polling this is a marginal seat, so a vote for Davis may not be a useless vote.
Shane Jones will almost certainly return to Parliament on the list so a vote for Pita Sharples is a smart vote.
Nanaia Mahuta will also return on the list so a vote for Mana's Angeline Greensill will ensure more Maori enter Parliament.
On current polling Annette Sykes will not get into Parliament on the Mana list, nor will Te Ururoa Flavell on the Maori Party list. Therefore, a vote for either candidate is not a wasted vote. However, I'm endorsing Annette Sykes. Te Ururoa Flavell has played the invisible man in Waiariki and Sykes is presenting a compelling case for the vote.
Parekura Horomia is number five on the Labour list, so he'll return. Therefore, a vote for another candidate is a strategic vote. But despite this, I would vote for proven candidate, read Horomia.
Te Tai Hauauru
Tariana Turia is dependent on the electorate vote, and all Maori in Te Tai Hauauru looking for effective representation should vote for Turia.
Te Tai Tonga
None of the candidates in this electorate will make it to Parliament without winning the electorate. I'm endorsing Labour's Rino Tirikatene. The Maori Party's Rahui Katene has disappointed many in the electorate with her support for the Marine and Coastal Areas Act and the GST rise among other things. Tirikatene represents a new generation and is the continuation of the Tirikatene political legacy.
And if you remember anything I've said, remember this: vote for MMP (More Maori in Parliament).
Morgan Godfery is a law student and former Labour staffer. He blogs on Maori issues at mauistreet.blogspot.com