Mana Motuhake

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Mana Motuhake
Founder Matiu Rata
Split from Labour Party
Merged into Māori Party
Ideology Māori rights
National affiliation Alliance
ColorsBlack, red and white

Mana Māori Motuhake was a Māori political party in New Zealand from 1980 to 2005. The name is difficult to translate accurately, but essentially refers to Māori self-rule and self-determination mana , in this context, can be understood as "authority" or "power", while motuhake can be understood as "independent" or "separate". [1] The purpose of the party was to unify Māori to gain 'political potency'. [2] From 1991 to 2002, the party participated in the left-wing Alliance.



Early years

Mana Motuhake was formed in 1980 by Matiu Rata, a former Labour Party member of parliament who had served as Minister of Māori Affairs in the third Labour government (1972–1975). Rata had grown increasingly dissatisfied with Labour Party policy. Eventually deciding that Māori needed an independent voice, he announced his intention to resign from Labour on 6 November 1979. He announced that he would promote a movement based on "mana Māori motuhake". [3] At Easter 1980, he launched the Mana Motuhake party, [3] and resigned his seat in Parliament to contest a by-election under its banner. In the resulting Northern Maori by-election of 1980, Rata was defeated by the Labour Party's new candidate, Bruce Gregory. [4]

Mana Motuhake stood candidates in the 1981, 1984, 1987, and 1990 general elections, but was unsuccessful on each occasion. [5]

In 1991 Mana Motuhake formed a new party called the Alliance by joining with three other political parties NewLabour Party, the Green Party, and the Democratic Party. [6] Some in Mana Motuhake considered this move to take away the freedom of the party to speak up for Māori. There was a split and an independent Māori party led by Eva Rickard was founded called Mana Māori. [7]

From the 1990s to deregistration

Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee (pictured circa 1997-8). Sandra Lee in QE2 Square before elections.jpg
Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee (pictured circa 1997-8).

In the 1993 elections, a Mana Motuhake candidate, Sandra Lee, was elected to Parliament under the Alliance banner. When Rata retired the following year, Lee-Vercoe became Mana Motuhake's political leader. [8] With the introduction of the MMP electoral system in the 1996 elections, Lee-Vercoe was joined in Parliament by Alamein Kopu. Kopu, however, eventually left the party, founding her own Mana Wahine Te Ira Tangata party. In the 1999 elections, another Mana Motuhake candidate, Willie Jackson, entered Parliament as an Alliance MP. In 2001, Jackson successfully challenged Lee-Vercoe for leadership of the party. [9]

In 2002, when the Alliance split into moderate and radical factions, Mana Motuhake sided with the radicals, led by Laila Harré and Matt McCarten. Lee-Vercoe, the former leader, sided with Jim Anderton's moderate faction, but decided to retire from Parliament rather than stand for his breakaway Progressive Party. In the 2002 elections, the remnants of the Alliance were defeated, and Mana Motuhake was left without representation in Parliament. Shortly afterwards, it left the Alliance.

Mana Motuhake was deregistered in 2005. [7]

Election results

The following table summarises the party's support in general elections:

Electioncandidatesseats wonvotespercentage
1981 408,3320.46%
1984 805,9890.31%
1987 709,7890.53%
1990 4010,8690.60%


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  3. 1 2 Hill 2009, p.  179.
  4. Norton 1988, p. 398.
  5. Bargh, Maria (2012). "New Māori Politics 1990s-2000s". Huia histories of Māori : ngā tāhuhu kōrero. Danny Keenan. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia. ISBN   978-1-77550-009-4. OCLC   779490407.
  6. Orsman, Bernard (2 December 1991). "Alliance born with eye on Tamaki win". The New Zealand Herald . p. 1.
  7. 1 2 . Retrieved 17 September 2022.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. Herbert, Patricia (21 March 1994). "Party leader calls it a day". The New Zealand Herald . p. 5.
  9. "Lee dumped as Mana Motuhake leader". The Press . 4 June 2001. p. 9.