29 Jun 2017

New Pacific political group to back Maori Party

7:22 am on 29 June 2017

A Pacific political group has aligned itself to the Maori Party ahead of this year's election in New Zealand.

More than 100 people turned up to a launch event in Auckland to witness the signing of their partnership.

One Pacific is inspired by Samoa's 'Mau movement' of the 1920s and 1930s and is aimed at getting the collective Pacific people to do better for themselves and their families in Aotearoa.

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell

Maori Party co-leader welcomes One Pacific to the political fold Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Maori Party co-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell, said it is hugely significant for Maori and Pacific people to come together and is a political game changer.

"There has been a determination on the part of those associated with One Pacific to find that political leverage that they have long been after," Mr Flavell said.

"It is all very well being associated with a political party, but if you don't get any political leverage and the ability to have some say over the policies that you want to advance, and indeed advance in the best interests of your people, you are always going to struggle.

"I think that our Pacific brothers and sisters have been discussing it with us recently and they recognise that the Maori Party does bring something special to them and most of all it is about relationships," he said.

Mr Flavell said it was a landmark decision but there was a lot of work to be done before this year's election.

It is hoped nine Pacific candidates from One Pacific will be standing as Maori Party candidates, who are representative of the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Niue.