Politicians stepped out and raced in a celebrity-style race today at the Waka Ama champs. Three teams, Mana Māori, Labour and Māori Television competed amongst lots of laughter and banter.
Mana teamed up with the Māori Party to take on Labour.
Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell had some advice for his mates, “Leave those that know how to paddle to do the paddling. From what I know, the whole group should stick to politics. The media should stick to their day jobs too.”
Light-hearted banter was the theme of the day. Both political parties were out to claim bragging rights in an election year.
Labour MP Meka Whaitiri offered her predictions on who would capsize, “Well I actually think it'll be Hone. Hone is an attention seeker, and so probably for that reason he will be tipping the boat.”
Mana Party MP Hone Harawira gave back some friendly banter, “I certainly must acknowledge one of the teams, Labour. However, we've already won this.”
Third wheel participants Māori Television were also out for the win and had stern words for their opposition.
Media paddler Mataia Keepa says, “There won't be a group that will come close to us. Here's my advice to Te Ururoa; think about an answer for the losing team because their team are going down.”
Hot favourites Mana Māori got off to a flying start and were assisted by the broken paddle of Māori Television.
Labour did well considering their inexperience with new comer Kris Fa'afoi taking to the water for the first time.
“I don't know why I got a mention but its good, its good fun,” says Fa'afoi.
Eventually, Mana Māori took out the inaugural political race.
“To be able to turn around, and for the people to know that Mana Māori are here standing in the day, standing in the night,” says Harawira.