Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Mahuta family eyes up more Waikato seats

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta sporting her new moko in the Debating Chamber at Parliament, Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta sporting her new moko in the Debating Chamber at Parliament, Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Nanaia Mahuta's husband is the latest family member to put his hat in the ring for the upcoming elections - wanting to be on the governance board of the council he once worked for.

The Hauraki-Waikato Labour party MP's younger sister is aiming to have a second-term on the regional council as well as vying for a place on the Waikato DHB and now her husband Gannin Ormsby wants to join her in the only other Maori seat.

Ormsby is vying for the Ngā Tai ki Uta Māori constituency seat previously held by Timoti Bramley.

Ormsby said he had not considered standing for the regional council until Bramley contacted him to stand just two weeks ago.

He left his role as an iwi adviser for the regional council after 10-years in September last year to be a stay-at-home dad to the couple's two young children, but the 48-year-old said his wife was supportive of his attempted move into the governance side.

"With our little whanau we talk to each other. We did have a discussion about it. She's very supportive. Look its not a given. Two of us have put our hands up and I know Kataraina Hodge and she's a good candidate."

He said not living in the electorate could be a deterrent for some people and was relying solely on a Facebook page to promote himself to voters. He had no plans to put up hoardings.

"Really it's up to the people. I'm quite philosophical really. People will make their choice."
Tipa Mahuta said her first term on council representing the Ngā Hau E Whā Māori had not been without its challenges, but it would be "awesome" working with her brother-in-law if they were both elected.

Tipa who is also the deputy chair of the regional council was also standing for the Waikato District Health Board after she said she was encouraged by her tribe and believed she could make a difference.

"Probably having been in my tribal governance role for 15 years and now in local government probably bringing all those well-beings together and providing another leg for the DHB because again maori health statistics are not improving."

Nanaia has been a Labour MP for 20 years and both her and Tipa were introduced to politics by their father, the late Sir Robert Mahuta, who was a prominent Tainui leader.

Although she said she was trying to keep a distance from local government, Nanaia said both her husband and sister would stand on their own merits to what they could bring to the role.

"I certainly know for both of them that they hold their own. And I'm immensely proud of the contribution that we all seek to make our region a better place to live.""Ultimately they are part of the democratic process. They will put themselves up for elections and the electorate decides who is best suited to the job.

"My intention is to stay out of local politics as I've tried to maintain a level of distance with tribal politics as best as I can and let the people who are tasked with the role get on with the job."

Her own future as a central MP was uncertain and she said she she had not made any firm commitments either way about whether she would be seeking re-election next year.

Waikato Regional Council councillor and former chair Peter Buckley, who is not seeking re-election, did not think it would be an issue having two councillors who were related on the council as long as they were able to put aside their own iwi affiliations and represent everyone in their electorate. "As long as they don't keep running back to their own."

- NZ Herald

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