The Maori Party's new MP Marama Fox has been elected as the party's new female co-leader - marking the end of an era for the party.

Mrs Fox was confirmed as co-leader at the party's AGM in Whanganui today, replacing Tariana Turia who founded and led the party for its first decade.

Te Ururoa Flavell took over as male co-leader from Pita Sharples last year.
Mrs Fox is also the party's first ever List MP after it only managed to hold on to one electorate seat in the 2014 election.

Accepting the position, Mrs Fox paid tribute to Mrs Turia and Dr Sharples.
"Today we let go of one stage of our party and start another stage."


She also mounted a strong defence of the decision to work with National, saying it did not mean the Maori Party was any weaker.

"This party and no other poarty advocates for Maori self-determination and rangitiritanga. This party, and no other party in Government today."

She said Mrs Turia had been an inspiration to her since crossing the floor on the Foreshore and Seabed Act in 2003.

She crossed the floor and we followed her - and we're all still here."

She also recalled hearing Dr Sharples many years ago talking to a Pakeha audience about how great it was to be Maori "and I had never heard a Maori person speak that way about themselves before. It blew my mind. I went out thinking 'that's awesome' and all you Pakeha people here, you should be grateful to be in a country with us."

She has been appointed the party's whip and said she was learning fast - and would try not to cause too much trouble for Te Ururoa Flavell, who had already had to field at least four calls from National about her. "And that was on Day One."

She said she had caused problems by voting for Ron Mark as Speaker and then for taking her new role as 'whip' "a bit too literally" in Parliament's Business Committee. She had then "in the spirit of generosity" tried to offer Labour's Nanaia Mahuta the role as deputy chair of the Maori Affairs select committee. "I found out that was wrong too."

"No matter what happens in Government, I will always advocate for our people. I might get things wrong but my heart will always be in the right place."


A raft of other positions on the National Council also changed hands after Vice Presidents Ken Mair and Donna Gardiner stepped down.

The party's 2014 Hauraki Waikato candidate Su Cullen was elected as the female vice President.

A businesswoman, Ms Cullen has been a donor to the party in previous years and her supporters believe she can help the party set up a more professional fundraising strategy - an issue the party has long struggled with.

Bayden Barber was elected to replace Ken Mair as male Vice-President. Mr Barber is involved in Maori development and the health sector, as deputy chair of Health Hawkes Bay PHO.

Helen Leahy, the party's long serving national secretary and chief of staff in Parliament has also stepped down after a decade in the position, delivering an emotional parting address saying she was deeply honoured to have been part of the party's journey.
Amokura Panoho was chosen to replace her as national secretary.