19 Aug 2013

Maori seek voice in local body politics

7:40 pm on 19 August 2013

A record number of Maori candidates are seeking election to Northland councils in October's local body vote.

Mike Kake, who convenes the new electoral lobby group Tu Kotahi, says 16 Maori are seeking seats on either the Whangarei or Northland regional councils - something he says is unheard of.

Maori are waking up to the fact that they make up 35-38% of Whangarei, and 43-45% in the Far North, he says.

But they don't feel they are adequately represented, and the 16 candidates have decided to give it a crack.

In the Far North, Mita Harris and Reuben Porter are among seven people contesting the mayoralty.

They're up against likely frontrunners Wayne Brown, John Carter and Ann Court.

In a surprise move, former Mangonui Bluff farmer Alan Titford - famous for his protests over the Te Roroa land claim - has also put up his hand for the top job.