Mana Party's Hone Harawira was back in the fold of the Maori Party tonight in a meeting which called on Maori voters to unify.
The call was for voters to be "uncompromisingly Maori" with Harawira and Maori Party
strategist Tukoroirangi Morgan lashing the Labour Party.
"No offence to Labour," said Harawira, "but they're not a kaupapa Maori party."
Morgan told the Whangarei meeting of about 100 people that Labour "stole our mana" with its foreshore and seabed legislation and "sent fear and terror" against Tuhoe in the 2007 police raids in Ruatoki.
"That's the price we have paid for our support of the Labour Party. We have never betrayed our people, not like the Labour Party.
"The Maori Party was born out of the betrayal of the Labour Party. It evolved into the Maori Party and we had our differences. We have to get past our differences."
The meeting turned a symbolic agreement earlier this year that the Maori Party and Mana
Party would work together into a practical push for votes. The Maori Party is not standing a candidate against Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.
The agreement aimed to heal the split between Harawira and the Maori Party, which he
quit in 2011 even as he faced expulsion following complaints over his behaviour by its current leader, Te Ururoa Flavell.
The language was all about building bonds publicly tonight with Harawira showering praise on Flavell and Morgan calling on voters to support Harawira to win Te Tai Tokerau back from Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis, who is placed second on the party list.
The call was for "mana Maori motuhake" - Maori self-determination - to be achieved via strategic voting that would build support for the Maori Party's list vote while delivering Harawira the northern electorate seat.
Morgan said Davis was going to get in regardless because of his placing on Labour's list.
"It's a waste of time to give your electorate vote to Kelvin. It's a nonsense actually."
With a smile at Harawira, he suggested voters used their party vote for the Maori Party, which is fighting for votes against Labour in the other six Maori seats.
Harawira said Flavell had shown strength in allowing the Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill - the most significant reform around Maori land in generations - to lapse rather than pushing it through Parliament under urgency.
"It's a big thing for a minister to do that. When Helen Clark was given the opportunity over foreshore and seabed, she said 'get stuffed'."
He took a swing at Davis, saying he had been "a wonderful school principal" in Kaitaia "but can you honestly think of anything else he has done?"
Harawira told the meeting he would be at future Maori Party events in support of candidates - including Flavell.
"The kaupapa is more important than the individuals."