Putting Māori Members of Parliament (MPs) at the forefront of important New Zealand politics is Jodi Ihaka's plan, as she was recently appointed the Labour Party's new Senior Communications Advisor (Māori).
"I'm really excited to use my communication skills in such an important Māori advisory capacity. I have loved my time at Whakaata Māori (Māori Television) and have nothing but respect for the Māori journalists on Te Kāea and Native Affairs," says Ihaka.
The position sees Ihaka take on a key advisory role to Labour leader, Andrew Little as well as Māori MPs including Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare, Louisa Wall, Meka Whaitiri, Nanaia Mahuta and Adrian Rurawhe.
Of Te Aupōuri and Ngāti Porou descent, Ihaka says her grandparents were staunch Labour supporters and taking up this role means she is making a call about her own political affiliations.
Just days ago, the Native Affairs journalist was getting story leads from Senior Labour MPs and will now play the role of cheerleader, camp mother, and all consuming communicator.
Ihaka says, "The challenge is providing more Māori support for the leader and the Māori members of Parliament and I look forward to working with all of them. It's an adventure and I can't wait to get on with it."
Based in Parliament, Ihaka will work alongside Labour's Head of Communications, Sarah Stewart and takes up her new role on June 29.