Nanaia Mahuta along with a group from Waikato received a welcome this morning. This is the first big Māori event she's attended since being sworn in as Māori Development Minister and she mentioned that today also marks Parekura Horomia's birthday which she says is significant considering this competition began in his time as Minister of Māori Development.
Peeni Henare (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) is the incumbent MP for Tāmaki Makaurau, a seat he won in 2014 following the retirement of former Māori Party co-leader and Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples.
He is a son of the late Erima Henare who was head of the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori.
Henare’s grandfather was Sir James Henare and his great-grandfather Taurekareka (Tau) Henare was MP for Northern Māori from 1914 to 1938.
Before entering politics, Henare was a policy advisor for the Ministry of Social Development in Auckland.
Henare is up against Marama Davidson from the Green Party and Shane Taurima from the Māori Party.
He has five children with wife Maia, a teacher. Henare and brother Tatai Henare are twins.