It has been a tumultuous term for the Maori Party since it entered its "mana-enhancing" support agreement with National - and it heads toward the election with Hone Harawira's Mana Party threatening to erode its vote, and trying to assure its own supporters the party can survive when its co-leaders stand down.
The party was rocked by the acrimonious departure of Mr Harawira in February. However, polls so far have shown that the erosion of the vote by Mana has not yet been as extensive as initially feared.
The Maori Party has sought to shore up its support, by claiming it is the only party whose sole focus is Maori and pointing to the achievements gained under the arrangement with National.
However, the Maori Party does have to convince Maori of two things: that it was worth compromising to go into coalition with National, and that it has not become beholden to National.
The party will be comforted by a recent Marae Investigates poll, which showed two-thirds of Maori agreed compromise was worthwhile. Another point in its favour is that National and Labour have ruled out working with Mr Harawira - at least for now. That makes it easy for the Maori Party to claim Mr Harawira cannot deliver for his people beyond railing from the sidelines. However, attempts made by the Maori Party MPs to defend National have not gone down well among Maori audiences at debates.
Tariana Turia has so far refused to say whether the party will work with National in the next term. Maori voters remain predominantly Labour voters - so the Maori Party is again emphasising that it is willing to go into coalition with either of the two major parties. It released its voting record to show it voted with Labour about 60 per cent of the time, and National 40 per cent. And its new policy manifesto retains the core, traditional social policy the party has espoused since it was founded in 2004: a $16 an hour minimum wage, lowering the retirement age for Maori to 60 because of their lower life expectancy, taking GST off food, and youth job schemes. It also continues to advocate a financial transaction tax and a tax-free threshold of 25 per cent on personal income.
The party will also have to deal with any uncertainty following the announcement Mrs Turia will retire during the next term and Pita Sharples at the 2014 election. Its unorthodox list, placing new faces in the top six slots, was an attempt to dampen down concern by showing a succession plan - the co-leaders are hopeful that the Maori Party will be able to survive a passing of the baton in the same way the Greens have.
However, in a recent Marae Investigates poll, Mrs Turia and Dr Sharples polled top of the MPs who best represented Maori - both ahead of Mr Harawira - a clear sign of the respect in which they are held and the uncertainty their resignations will produce.
The party will have to use this election to "sell" its newer candidates, such as Waihoroi Shortland, Kaapua Smith and Tina Porou, to ensure the long-term health of the party. It remains reliant on its electorate seats for its presence in Parliament.
It is also good at running campaigns on limited budgets, and is likely to hold on to Dr Sharples' Tamaki Makaurau seat, Turia's Te Tai Hauauru and Te Ururoa Flavell's Waiariki seat. Although its new Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Shortland, has made some gains in the polls, it is unlikely the party will take the seat from Harawira. There is a question mark about the Te Tai Tonga seat, where Rahui Katene is facing a challenge from Labour's candidate Rino Tirikatene.
* 2008: 2.39 per cent. Five electorate seats. In support arrangement with National. Achievements include: repeal and replacement of the Foreshore and Seabed Act restoring the right of iwi to go to court; start-up of Whanau Ora social policy; constitutional review and various social initiatives.
* 2005: 2.12 per cent. Four electorate seats, on cross benches.
In their own words: Tariana Turia
* On retiring before 2014: No political movement should be built around individuals or personalities. I feel confident we are going to be leaving the party in safe hands. [Husband] George and I have been raising grandchildren. He has been left to do the whole thing. You can't talk "whanau ora" [family wellbeing] but not practise it.
* On support agreement with National: We've voted against National more than with them. But we know if we want to advance the interests of our people, we have to build sustainable relationships in Parliament. That's not easy when we have others portraying us as being always in agreement with National. That's not true. I believe what we've been able to show in this term of Government is we can build relationships based on respect for each others' position even where we strongly disagree.
* On priorities for post-election talks: The major policy planks will be Whanau Ora and ensuring state agencies are culturally competent. In a way Maori have become fodder for those who created an industry of misery out of our people. We want to stop that. Not all of our people are those the Mana Party wants to feed breakfast and lunch to. We want to say we've invested more constructively in our families so they can learn and earn for themselves.
* On why people should vote for the Maori Party: We've kept our promises to our people. We've never overpromised, we've been careful about what we think we can do. We have achieved more than any other group of Maori MPs in the history of this Parliament.