The leaders of the Maori Party and Mana Party have hailed "historic" talks as they probe a possible agreement to cooperate at next year's election.

Executives of both parties met in Whangarei yesterday.

"This is a significant occasion where we have been able to put aside our differences and focus on what is best for our people and to put the interests of our people first and foremost," Maori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan said.

"We have reached an agreement as part of the first step in developing our relationship that we will continue to work on.


"We consider this day historic in the sense that this is the first time the two executives of our party have come together and that bodes well for our future working relationship."

Morgan has said he hopes a strategic agreement between the parties would be finalised before Christmas. He was not suggesting the two parties could merge, but deals are possible to try to win seats from Labour.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira quit the Maori Party in 2011 over its support agreement with National.

Both Mana and the Maori Party suffered setbacks in the 2014 general election - Harawira lost his Te Tai Tokerau seat, and the Maori Party lost two seats to Labour.

Morgan, elected president of the Maori Party in July, has been a driving force between the Maori Party-Mana talks.

There was bad blood between Harawira and Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell after Harawira's split from the Maori Party, but Flavell has said he could work with any party in the best interests of Maori and the nation.