The Māori Party will announce on Saturday which of two candidates will attempt to wrest the Te Tai Hauāuru seat from Labour incumbent Adrian Rurawhe.

Mr Rurawhe succeeded former Māori Party leader Tariana Turia in the seat at the last election, beating Māori Party candidate Chris McKenzie by 1453 votes.

There are two Māori Party nominees for Te Tai Hauāuru candidate at the 2017 election - Debbie Ngārewa-Packer and Howie Tamati. Both have impressive credentials.

The party's choice will be announced at 2pm on Saturday, at Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Ōtaki. It will be live streamed on the Māori Party's Facebook page.


Mrs Ngārewa-Packer grew up in Patea and went on from the freezing works there to university study. She has a Masters degree in Business Administration.

She now heads Ngāti Ruanui, and has also been South Taranaki's deputy mayor and led a delegation of young Māori to Silicon Valley in the United States.

She has lots of other roles, including membership of the national Māori Economic Development Panel and the Work & Income Advisory Board.

Mr Tamati has been made an MBE. He's a former rugby league player and current president of New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL).

He's also the chief executive of Sport Taranaki, and has served five terms on New Plymouth District Council. During that time he championed Māori causes, including Māori seats in local government and Māori street names.

For more than 10 years he led a successful programme to rehabilitate Māori prisoners and he is a Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Mutunga trustee.