Whanganui MP Harete Hipango has picked up the Crown Māori Relations portfolio in a rejigged National Party caucus under new leader Todd Muller.

"It's a significant portfolio and one that is usually passed on to senior members of Parliament," she said.

"I've studied and practised the law, and engaged in Crown government agencies as well as a lot of community-based Maori organisations.

She will continue the role she has as the party's Māori tourism spokeswoman.


Hipango said there would always be "a transitional period" when leadership changed in a political party.

"Peoples' expectations are high, and rightfully so, and Todd and [deputy leader Nikki Kaye] are navigating the causeway and they're doing it with the support of the caucus.

"Leadership is an unenviable position sometimes, especially with the added bonus and attention of public discourse and media attention, but they're handling it."

Hipango said rankings in the party and the lack of Māori presence in the top 10 was "a matter for leadership".

"As comes with the culture within an organisation or a group collective, you either accept it or you don't, and I certainly accept the decisions that have been made in terms of the rankings."

Hipango said she would be seeking a "greater level tolerance and mutual regard for the worlds we come from" when she took over the Māori Crown relations portfolio.

"Te Arawhiti is the Māori term for it, which literally means 'the bridge', and I feel like that's exactly what I am.

"I've been shaped and nurtured in both the Maori and Pakeha worlds, and there's much we have in common in terms of similarities."


"It's about partnership, participation, and protection, and I bring that, along with the whakapapa that I come from.

"People like Dame Tariana Turia have walked the pathway of our shared ancestry, and there'll be others to come.

"I want to help to bridge some of our differences with a level of respect and mutual regard."