Metiria Turei says she decided to rule herself out of any future ministerial positions before Labour got in touch to say Jacinda Ardern would not have her in Cabinet.
"I knew they were unhappy about what had happened. I didn't know what they would do," the Green Party co-leader told media today.
"I decided. And then we heard that they wanted to do that anyway."
Turei launched the Green Party's national Maori campaign in Wellington today, including policy to end "full and final" settlements - allowing settlements to be revisited.
The Greens would also let councils establish Maori wards without being later overturned by a poll.
Turei on Friday ruled herself out of a Cabinet position during fallout from her benefit fraud admission. Soon after that announcement Ardern held a press conference and revealed her team had that morning told the Greens that Turei would not be in any future Cabinet position.
Around 40 people attending today's meeting applauded as Turei walked in, and she was hugged by Rawiri Paratene, actor and the father of Green MP Marama Davidson.
Paratene told the gathering the Greens were "unshakeable", and that had been demonstrated by Turei in the past few days.
Davidson said Turei was "one of the most effective threats" to power being held by a few.
"And that's why the howls are getting louder. And yet she persists."
Candidate Jack McDonald said he was proud of Turei who had "put herself on the line" and the criticism "disturbs me deeply" but was "the last cries of a system that is on the way out".
In her speech Turei committed to policy including:
• Oppose any call for a referendum on the Maori electorates.
• Letting councils establish Maori wards without being overturned by a poll.
• Review the Treaty settlement process and end 'full and final' settlements - allowing settlements to be revisited.
• Ensure claims can only be settled with the agreement of the original claimants and remove the 'large natural groupings' approach to settlements.
Turei said she had hundreds of messages of support since Friday's announcement. She expected Labour would get a bump in the polls because of Ardern's leadership, but she was "very hopeful" the Greens' vote would hold.
On the support shown by candidates today, Turei said she was enormously privileged to work with such a group of people.
Davidson said she had been door-knocking in Porirua this morning and the strong feedback was that people felt like someone was speaking for them in Parliament, for the first time.