Māori voters will get to choose whether to be on the general or Māori roll from next month when the Māori Electoral Option opens.

Voters of Māori descent will have from April 3 to August 2 to decide which roll to be on for the next two general elections.

The option, which is held after each Census, is important because it, along with 2018 Census data, determines the number of Māori electorates and their boundaries.

The number of Māori electorates has remained at seven for the past six general elections. There were six electorates in the 1999 election, five at the 1996 election and four in 1993.

Stats NZ estimates that for another electorate to be added, around 27,000 Māori would have to change from the general to Māori roll, or 64,000 Māori enrolling for the first time would have to go on the Māori roll, or a mix of both.


First-time voters of Māori descent, as well as Māori already enrolled to vote, can decide which roll to be on.

As at January 2018, 53 per cent of the 478,944 enrolled voters of Māori descent were on the Māori roll, the rest were on the general roll. Although the number of voters who identify as being of Māori descent has steadily increased, the percentage on the Māori roll has remained reasonably stable.

The Epsom electorate has the highest proportion of Māori voters on the general roll (70.8 per cent), and East Coast has the highest proportion of Māori on the Māori roll (67.2 per cent).
As with the general roll, those on the Māori roll vote for the same list of parties but the candidate vote will be for those standing in the Māori electorates.

More information can be found at www.maorioption.org.nz
Current electorates
• Hauraki-Waikato
• Ikaroa-Rāwhiti
• Tāmaki Makaurau
• Te Tai Hauāuru
• Te Tai Tokerau
• Te Tai Tonga
• Waiariki