The New Zealand Labour Party has selected Meka Whaitiri as their candidate for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election at a hui in Taradale today.
The selection meeting saw six candidates present to more than 700 Labour Party members at Kokiri Marae in Lower Hutt, Hauiti Marae in Tolaga Bay and St Joseph's Maori Girls' College in Taradale.
Meka Whaitiri, a mother of two, grew up in Whakatu, Hastings. She started work at the local freezing works, went on to complete a Masters degree in Education from Victoria University and is currently Chief Executive of Ngati Kahungunu. Meka is affiliated to Ngati Kahungunu and Rongowhakaata. She has played both netball and softball at a national level.
"I am humbled that the Labour whanau of Ikaroa-Rawhiti have chosen me to represent them. This is a responsibility I take very seriously, as Parekura always did," says Meka Whaitiri.
"This selection process has shown that Labour is in good health and I'm looking forward to getting out there and earning the support of Ikaroa-Rawhiti."
Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth has congratulated Meka Whaitiri on her selection.
"Meka will be an outstanding by-election candidate for Labour and a valuable addition to Labour in Parliament. She has emerged from a strong field in a process involving hundreds of party members and can go into this by-election knowing she has the support of the whole Labour whanau."
Labour Party leader David Shearer and Maori caucus members Shane Jones, Nanaia Mahuta, Moana Mackey and Louisa Wall were also present at today's hui.
The Labour Party will officially launch its campaign for Ikaroa-Rawhiti in Hawkes Bay next weekend.