With the king’s son Whatumoana in attendance, Rahui Papa signaled the start of the scrap for Hauraki-Waikato.
Hundreds turned out to the launch of Rahui Papa as the candidate for Hauraki-Waikato for the Māori Party. So much so that the visitors filled both sides of the marae. The king's son was also there as a representative of the Kingitanga.
Papa says he's ready for the challenge, but he won't turn it into a mud-slinging contest. “I don't see this as a fight between us (myself and Nanaia Mahuta), we both want what is best for our people.”
Papa says one of the main issues with voting for his opponent is that she will have to keep towing the party line.
“(Andrew) Little is the boss. No matter what Māori want to do, in the end, Little has the last say.”
It was an impressive show of support for Rahui Papa at Pohara Marae, with cars being backed up for some distance at the grounds at the launch. But the question is whether he has enough support to beat Nanaia Mahuta. Mahuta received more than seven thousand votes above second place in the 2014 election.