Rino Tirikatene will stand for Labour in Te Tai Tonga, he is the incumbent representative for this rohe. Te Tai Tonga is the largest electorate in the country. Māori Party candidate Mei Taare-Reedy will be challenging him for the seat this year. Although Green Party candidate Metiria Turei is also standing in this electorate, she is vying for the party vote.
Tirikatene has deep connections across Ngāi Tahu on his paternal side, and to Ngāti Hine in the Far North on his maternal side. Historically his family has given significant parliamentary service to Māori in Te Waipounamu and Labour in the Southern Māori electorate (1932-1996).
Tirikatene had over fourteen years’ experience working in Māori economic development roles. These included working as a private consultant on inter-indigenous development projects between Māori and the Pacific, Chief Executive of the Federation of Māori Authorities advocating for Māori land based organisations, working for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu within its seafood businesses and leading government trade promotion initiatives across Māori business sectors. He has an understanding of legal and commercial issues as a result of his early career as a commercial lawyer.