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Strong challenger in Ikaroa-Rawhiti

Heather Te Au Skipworth. PHOTO/FACEBOOK

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
[email protected]

The Labour Party has a challenger for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate in Heather Te Au Skipworth, QSM, who will run as a Maori Party candidate.

Hastings-based Te Au Skipworth [Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tahu, Te Arawa, Tuwharetoa], is the founder and chief executive of the IronMaori multi-sports organisation.

In 2014 she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to athletics and Maori.

Te Au Skipworth said she is proud to represent the Māori Party and Ikaroa-Rāwhiti in the upcoming election.

“I see the injustices our people still face today, in every sector, every system, every policy, every government door that our people walk through, and I want to change that,” she said.

“The Maori Party is focused on fighting for the rights and interests as tangata whenua and that must start by eliminating the institutionalised racism we contend with every day.”

It would be continuing in the pursuit of supporting whanau transformation that inspired her IronMaori journey, she said.

“I have committed my life to leading positive change and am ready for the challenge before us.”

The Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate extends from the top of the East Cape in the North Island to the Wellington region, and includes Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa, as well as most of the Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata.

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri won the seat in 2017, the same year that the Maori Party was ousted from Parliament.

Maori Party Ikaroa-Rawhiti co-chair Hinetu Dell said the electorate had been hotly contested but Te Au Skipworth won the seat due to her vision, huge community following, engaging style and unwavering commitment to whanau [family].

Maori Party president Che Wilson said he was looking forward to working with Te Au Skipworth.

“Heather is a strong Maori wahine [woman] who has a track record of delivering meaningful change for whanau on the ground,” he said. “We are privileged to have her on our team.”

The 2020 General Election will be held on September 19.

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