Mike Tana - Porirua's first Māori mayor

By Online News - Rereātea

Porirua's new mayor Mike Tana wants to ensure Māori have a voice on the city council.

The latecomer only entered the mayoralty race in August and won by 140 votes. His actions today showed why he probably became the local favourite.

What does the Mayor of Porirua Mike Tana do on his first day on the job? What else but have a jam on the guitar with the Māori locals.

His relaxed demeanour could be one of the reasons he won the race for the mayoralty despite not joining the race until August.  A decision he laboured over for some time.

He says, “This again took me away from my family, so this had to be a decision made by my family, but mainly my wife. And she didn't tell me until right at the end!”

He won but by the slimmest of margins. The distance between him and second place was only 140 votes. But for his supporters, a win is a win.

He is the first Māori Mayor of Porirua and is now a part of a very short list of former Māori mayors around the country. But he believes Māori have a big part to play outside of council.

“Māori have a much bigger role to play and that's as mana whenua, as tangata whenua for which ever area we are in. I think the council should be going to Māori, not the other way around.”

He believes they should be eager to work with council.

“As a new mayor I should be walking in here, tangata whenua should be right here talking to me about what their aspirations are and I should be looking at that as a mayor and as a Māori.”