Te Pāti Māori is “energised and confident” after recent polling suggests they're poised to take a key role in Government after the next election.
As speakers took the stand at the Te Pāti Māori's Annual General Meeting in Te Puia on Saturday, 'Matike Mai Matariki,' the dawn of a new era, was the theme.
“The Māori Party must turn things around,” said the party's president and political veteran John Tamihere.
“There's only one party that can do that, it ain't Green, it ain't Labour and it definitely ain't that dirty rotten ACT party.”
While about 250 members gathered for the annual conference, this year, the crowd was significantly younger.
Recent 1News Kantar public polls suggest Te Pāti Māori, will be key to either a Labour-Green or a National-ACT government in the 2023 general election.
Co-leaders say the result has "energised" the party and led to a surge of new, younger members.
“The movement was on the rise already but helped consolidate the hard work,” Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said.
“Sixty per cent of Māori are under 40 and if you look at this room you see that, no other party can achieve this.”
But co-leader Rawiri Waititi says there’s still work to be done.
He’s determined to keep the key seat of Waiariki but understands they also need to snatch more Māori electorate seats from Labour.
“This is about ensuring we have people put their hands up in a system that has been set up to ensure we don't have a voice.
“We must stand in all seats and be competitive to all seats... and show our mokopuna we must always stand.”