“It is not the end. Ka whawhai tonu mātau,” says Dame Tariana Turia

By Heta Gardiner

Thirteen years in politics fighting for Māori, but their fate has been sealed and the people have spoken.

"This isn't our day," says co-leader of the Māori Party Te Ururoa Flavell. "The people have spoken, the tide is out for the Māori Party. Māoridom has made that call. That I cannot dispute."

That message from the voters is clear. The mandate for Māori and the seven Māori seats is with Labour and the Māori Party faces political oblivion.

"It's a dark day for Māoridom not to have an independent Māori voice in the house," says the other co-leader of the Māori Party, Marama Fox.

The Māori Party was established in protest of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

They instantly won four Māori seats, Dame Tariana Turia, Sir Pita Sharples, Hone Harawira and Te Ururoa Flavell. It wasn't long before they got a fifth with Rahui Katene. But the party fractured at the departure of Hone Harawira.

Coupled with their close relationship with National it divided their support, eventually leaving them with just a single electorate, Waiariki.

But their last thread to Parliament was severed last night, Waiariki going to Labour.

"Our people have spoken. Even in Waiariki, our people have spoken," says Flavell.

The co-leader was furious.

"The whānau have gone back to the mothership, back like a beaten wife to their abuser."

Its former leader could barely believe her eyes, but they were defiant.  

"We'll be back to fight another day," says Fox.

Former Māori Party leader Dame Tariana Turia says, "It is not the end. Ka whawhai tonu mātau."