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Meka Whaitiri

Candidate & Independent MP for Ikaroa Rāwhiti

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Meka Whaitiri ~ Ikaroa Rāwhiti

Born in Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa and raised on our Dad’s pā of Manutuke and Muriwai. Our whānau home directly opposite the Māori Battalion in Manutuke. Working hard, working for others and sharing your experiences was instilled in me from an early age. From my grandparents, my parents, my four siblings and now my two sons - serving others is what we all try to do.

As a young whānau we moved from Rongowhakaata and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri to Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga. To our Mum’s pā Kohupatiki then to Whakatu where I currently have my home. Yes, we all graduated from the University of Life - The Whakatu Meat Works!

Education was big in our whānau. I attended Manutuke Primary, got Dux at Mangateretere Primary in Hastings, Heretaunga Intermediate and Head Girl at Karamu High. I was an AFS (American Field Service) 12 month exchange student to Oregon USA where I graduated my senior year at Taft High, Lincoln City. On my return to Aotearoa I attended Victoria University Wellington graduating with my Masters in Education in 1993.

I also come from a sporting whānau; grandparents, parents, siblings, sons, nieces, nephews and now our moko - rugby, netball, hockey, basketball, waka ama, softball, cricket - at both provincial and national level. I have also coached many sporting teams.

So learning, playing sport and doing paid work happened for me all at once. Throw in having two sons - that was my life and have enjoyed every minute of it.

Working for our people opened up enormous opportunities and insights that carry me today. The Community Employment Group of the Department of Labour, the Māori Women’s Welfare League, the Māori Trustee and Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporate. My voluntary roles include - 11 years as a mandated Treaty negotiator for our Rongowhakaata Treaty claims, Chair of my sons’ Kōhanga Reo at Horouta, Porirua, first elected Board Chair of Te Kura Māori o Porirua, former member of the National Waka Ama Board and Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park.

And now 10 years as the Member of Pariament for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.

I believe in the saying it takes a village to raise a child. I have been raised and nurtured in love. I have been raised to make the most of my opportunities. I have been raised to give back and to serve others.