Maori Party Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate Marama Fox says if she is elected, she will continue fighting for equality for Maori people and ensure their voice is not lost in the halls of government.

Mrs Fox a Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Porou descendant is standing against Labour's Meka Whaitiri, Green's Henare Matua Kani and Internet-Mana's Te Hamua Nikora for the Maori electorate that runs from Gisborne through Wairarapa and down to Wainuiomata.

A mother of nine, she lives in Masterton with her husband and has been involved in education for 26 years, teaching at kohanga reo, kura kaupapa Maori, wharekura, public high schools, and more recently was an adviser at the Ministry of Education in programmes such as Ka Hikitia and Tataiako.

These programmes look at all Maori students gaining the skills, qualifications and knowledge they needed to enjoy and achieve education success.


"Over the last few years my role in promoting Ka Hikitia, and Tataiako has continued to motivate me to look closely at the concept of transformation - of Maori succeeding as Maori.

"Whanau Ora has always resonated with our whanau, as a model for breeding success. I want to dedicate the best years of my career to truly embedding Whanau Ora into our national psyche - and Ikaroa Rawhiti is the ideal environment to place my energy."

She said she was entering politics to tackle child poverty, domestic violence, housing and unemployment - which is high in Ikaroa Rawhiti - but also to educate people about the injustices Maori faced and Whanau Ora, a government health and social services programme targeted at Maori families but open to all.

"Ultimately it's about family, if we ensure our families are fed, warm, clothed, nurtured then everything else falls into place."

She said Maori have always battled inequality and she had experienced it in Wairarapa, where there had been resistance to the establishment of places like kohanga reo.

"We've always had to fight to establish our right to pathways in education.

"We've always had to overcome the lack of understanding and social bigotry that happens towards Maori."

She said if elected, she will ensure fair pathways for all whanau.

While Ikaroa Rawhiti has traditionally been a Labour stronghold, Mrs Fox believes she has a shot.

"I am a strong leader and I am relentless in ensuring better outcomes for whanau, for Maori and ultimately for Aotearoa."

She said voting for her and the Maori Party will ensure Maori have a voice in Parliament no matter who the sitting government is.

"We are the only party that both major parties have agreed that they would go into agreement with.

"If you vote left and the left don't get in then that candidate can do nothing because none of things they are promising will be able to come pass if they don't get into government, and it looks likely they won't.

"I sort of think a vote for anyone else is a waste of time."

She said the Maori Party would always be a minority party but the agreement of confidence and supply with National proved its influence was working.

It was not "propping up" National as some believed, she said, as it did not have to vote for laws National voted for.

"The only thing we must agree on is the Budget."

She said the party helped set aside $125 million in the Budget to address child poverty and has secured billions for Maori initiatives over the years.