Ikaroa-Rāwhiti candidate Heather TeAu-Skipworth says the Māori Party will invest millions of dollars in Māori sport if it is in a position to do so after next month's election.
It would establish and fund a national Māori sporting body, targeting Māori sporting codes and sports with high Māori participation; establish a $100 million Whānau Pakari fund over three years to invest in Māori sporting codes; funding Māori sporting academies that incorporated Whānau Pakari principles; funding scholarships to ensure that barriers for Māori were eliminated; funding iwi and hapū Pā Wars events; upskill volunteers and coaches in sporting codes with high Māori participation; ensure that funds went directly to Māori rather than regional sporting bodies; ensure sporting codes with high Māori participation had Māori governing boards, allowing them to compete individually at world cup events as Aotearoa Māori; and provide a Māori sports mentoring programme, delivering tertiary education opportunities and career pathways for life beyond sport.
"Exercise has been a big part of who we are, how we came here and how we would traverse the lands of Aotearoa," TeAu-Skipworth said.
"Māori invented many sports prior to European arrival - running, swimming, fishing, waka, hunting, kī o rahi, taiaha/mau rakau/te whare tū taua, to name a few - all examples of a tūpuna mindset, an ancestral way of being and acting that we call Whānau Pakari...
"There is much to be taught and learnt from the navigators of our past and how we can use that mātauranga to sail and paddle our way into a future frame by Whānau Pakari.
"It is a known fact that Māori genetic makeup is stronger than others. When there is commitment, dedication and great support around Māori to achieve a high standard in sport, it is guaranteed that Māori will thrive.
"Our ancestors were not just athletic, they were also strategic thinkers with intentions to survive. This all required stamina, resilience, endurance, speed, agility and logic.
"There is a great opportunity to showcase the sporting talent of Māori on the world stage, nurturing pathways for our mokopuna and tamariki to aspire to and offer pathways into education opportunities.
"Too often Māori have to travel to other countries to live to be recognised on the world stage," she added.
"We want them to stay in their homeland and represent their country as tangata whenua of this country under the banner of Aotearoa Māori.
"In the early 20th Century Māori formed their own teams. Māori sporting associations were founded in various sports. The first official national Māori rugby team was selected in 1910, prior to George Nepia playing for the All Blacks. Rugby league and hockey were other popular codes for Māori.
"From the 20th Century, golf, cricket, tennis, hockey, netball, touch rugby, waka ama, football, squash, basketball and Golden Shears saw many Māori represent on the world stage. It is only through a co-ordinated Māori-centred approach that we can revive collective and individual Māori success through Whānau Pakari."
Māori sporting codes had survived on pure grit and determination, she added. Often a couple of parents would be the key drivers, more than likely taking money out of their own wallets to ensure their and other tamariki could represent their regions.
"A specific Māori fund through Whānau Pakari will ensure those burdens are heavily reduced, or eliminated," she said.
"We cannot afford to lose our place in the sporting world. It has been quoted by some Māori who have represented on the world stage that if there was a Māori world stage team in their particular code that they would've wanted to represent in that team.
"Our Māori boarding school pupils were high contributors to sporting representation on the world stage. As the existence of such schools has declined, so too has our representation.
"Nowadays we have parents applying more than just sports to the game. These parents hold the tamariki accountable, set goals, offer employment to get them giving back to the sport (coaching, refereeing), upskill them and offer travel opportunities because they see the potential our Māori tamariki have. This is not exclusive to any particular Māori sporting code; you will find this in every Māori sporting code.
"Too many of our tamariki miss the opportunities in sport because of the financial burden placed on their families. They will give up and turn to drugs and gangs. Sport is the alternative for many, keeping them busy and offering them opportunities to travel and be better, see the world and give them the confidence our tamariki rightfully deserve in their own country."