This Friday, a milestone meeting between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the members of Labour's Maori caucus will take place at Te Papaiouru Marae, Ohinemutu.
There, Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey will unveil his ‘Kahui Koeke', an advisory council of selected kaumatua ready to support and advise him on his new political journey.
“Serving the people of the Waiariki is a big job,” says Tamati. “Having such wise heads around me, will allow me to make decisions collectively and hear the various issues affecting Waiariki iwi.”
Open to the public, the day will start with a powhiri for Jacinda Ardern and the Maori caucus at 12.30pm.
In her first public appearance in Rotorua since being elected, Jacinda's address will thank local voters for their support and outline her vision for a better, fairer New Zealand.
Tamati's premiere advisory council consists of Dr Kihi Ngatai, Tauranga Moana; Rereamanu Wihapi, Tapuika, Ngati Moko, Waitaha, Tuhorangi ki Tai; Hemana Eruera, Ngati Awa; Ron Tahi, Ngai Tuhoe; Robert Edwards, Te Whakatohea and Dr Keneti Te Whainga Kennedy, Te Arawa.
The kaumatua will enjoy light refreshments with the guests, before getting the opportunity to individually present to the Labour delegates on the issues of their iwi throughout the afternoon.
The day will then conclude with a site visit to the Wai Ariki development, for a turning of the sod as a sign of new beginnings.
With lawyer and political thinker, Annette Sykes, included in the line-up of presenters, Tamati says he is looking forward to having his council come together for the first time to korero, and to being challenged by the presentations involved.
“To have our Prime Minister speak for the first time in her new role at Tamatekapua, the Parliament of Te Arawa, is significant. To follow this by offering Waiariki kaumatua the ears of our Maori caucus for the entire afternoon is momentous. To be able to host them all, as our peoples' newly-elected Waiariki MP is an honour.”
Labour's Maori Caucus comes as a result of the recent election delivering an unprecedented 13 Maori MPs into parliament through Labour, the highest level of Maori representation in New Zealand politics.
“Maori overwhelmingly voted for Labour to be their voice and we pledge to start as we mean to go on, by listening in hui such as this,” says Tamati.