MP Adrian Rurawhe says he's got big shoes to fill - even if they belong to an opposition MP, who happens to be a relative and his former boss.

Mr Rurawhe is a former work colleague of Tariana Turia, who did not contest this year's election and is retiring from politics.

The Labour MP won the electorate with 7092 votes - more than 1400 ahead of his Maori Party rival Chris McKenzie - returning another Maori electorate to Labour after Mrs Turia had a stranglehold on the seat since 2002.

"She has left a huge legacy for me and other MPs actually to try to reach those standards as well."

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Mr Rurawhe, a former chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Apa with a long involvement in health and education, rejected criticism that the party vote which saw six of seven Maori electorates go back to Labour was a waste as its MPs were all in opposition.

"This is a democratic process and what I say to that is people have made their choices.

"There is honour in battling on the opposition benches and that is exactly what we are going to be doing in raising the issues that people have raised with me. I will fight really hard and challenge the Government that they need to be addressing those issues."

He was looking forward to setting up infrastructure that would allow him to best represent the interests in Te Tai Hauauru, where unemployment remained the region's most-pressing issue.

"There are huge challenges for any MP to service an electorate this size."

Adrian Rurawhe

• New Te Tai Hauauru MP (Labour)
• First job working on the railways
• Became chairman of Ngati Apa, held the position for 10 years
• Previously worked alongside Tariana Turia when she was a Labour MP.