He was way ahead in the polls, but former rugby league star Howie Tamati of the Māori Party fell short of victory. He lost the Te Tai Hauāuru race by 1,135 votes to Labour’s Adrian Rurawhe.
But despite the disappointing result, Tamati will keep fighting and has yet to concede.
“I don’t really want to concede at the moment. I know there’s special votes to come. Anything can happen," Tamati told Māori Television at Muru Raupatu Marae in Taranaki. “It’s a lot of disappointment, but that’s the way it is. We’re powerless in the hands of the voters. I couldn’t go and tackle anyone."
Throughout the night, the margin between the two candidates was slim. But gradually, Rurawhe’s lead was widening.
Rurawhe told Māori Television at Ratana Pa, that he is confident that all seven Māori seats will return to the Labour Party.
“We will be the voice of Māori in parliament,” Rurawhe says. “I think the Māori Party has been the architects of their own demise and did not listen to the people’s concern about their relationship with the National Party.”