The Maori Party has been shoulder tapping some big names as candidates in the Maori seats, but has resorted to advertising for candidates in general seats and on the party list: and they don't have to be Maori.

Newspaper advertisements for the party call for candidates, but party president Tukoroirangi Morgan denied the advertisement was because the party was struggling to find candidates.

"We have a checklist of names, but the best way is to reach out."

He said the party wanted to stand Pasifika candidates in areas such as South Auckland to try to build up the party vote among Pacific voters.


"I would expect for us to be contesting both Mangere and Manukau. We are working with some key Pacific leaders, church leaders, to select the appropriate people."

He said Pasifika communities were treated "tokenistically" by the main parties, and shared many of the same values and problems as Maori.

Labour's Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis dismissed it as more "smack talk" from Morgan.

"Good on him for trying to convert Pacific Islanders to kaupapa Maori. You'd like to think Pacific Islanders could run their own kaupapa."

Labour has several Pacific MPs, including Aupito William Sio, Jenny Salesa, and Carmel Sepuloni, in traditionally safe Labour areas in South and West Auckland.

The Maori Party has cut a deal with the Mana Party which will ensure they do not stand against each other in the Maori seats - Hone Harawira will stand in Te Tai Tokerau and Maori Party candidates in the remaining six electorates.

To counter that, Labour's Maori MPs have opted not to stand on the party list so Maori voters know they have to win their electorate to stay in Parliament.

Morgan said whoever had come up with that tactic had helped the Maori Party a lot.

"We'll be saying to our people what's the point giving them your party vote. Give it to us. There ain't any Maori on their list anymore, and once we wipe the floor with them there will be no Maori caucus in the Labour Party which will be absolutely amazing."

Davis said he wouldn't expect anything different from Morgan.

"If he's so confident of 'wiping the floor' with us, why don't their electorate candidates go off the list. Put up or shut up."

He said staying off the list would also improve the chances for Maori in general seats, such as Willow Jean Prime and Kiri Allen, to get better list slots.

Morgan was also hoping for some Pakeha candidates and had been talking to former New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd about standing. Judd, who fought for Maori wards in New Plymouth, has not ruled it out and joined the Maori Party more than a year ago.

In the Maori seats, the Maori Party has iwi leader Rahui Papa for Waikato-Tainui - and an endorsement from the Maori King - and former league player and councillor Howie Tamati in Te Tai Hauauru. Co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell will stand in Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Waiariki respectively.

However, it lost out on getting Willie Jackson in Tamaki Makaurau after he went to the Labour Party.

Morgan said the candidate selection for the remaining two electorates of Te Tai Tonga and Tamaki Makaurau was nearly complete.

The Maori Party got a record high poll result of 4 per cent in last weekend's One News Colmar Brunton poll, enough for five MPs. Fox - a list MP - will be keen to boost the party vote to ensure she returns to Parliament.