Kiwi celebs eye Beehive

Last updated 00:47 28/09/2008

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One starred in a movie about riding a whale, the other lit up the television as a sunny-natured weatherman.

And now Rawiri Paratene and Brendan Horan are hoping to echo their screen success in a race to the Beehive.

Former TV One weather presenter Brendan is standing for New Zealand First in the general election, while Rawiri Koro in homegrown hit Whale Rider is championing the Green Party.

After working as an MC, teaching people to surf and presenting on ESPN and Hawaiian TV, Brendan decided to notch politician on his career belt.

The father-of-two told Sunday News he first thought about entering politics after the 2005 election.

"I thought then I'd like to get into politics and I was looking through all the manifestos and portfolios and when I went through NZ First's I couldn't believe it," Brendan said.

"Originally I thought it was just a party for old people but ... I really liked their principles and I really liked their policies."

The man with the wide smile said he wanted to bring more unity to Parliament.

"I thought MMP and our political system needs to be about people and parties working together for a greater New Zealand," Brendan said.

"If you're in an atmosphere of trust and you've got open communication then free discussion and voluntary co-operation are means of achieving anything and that's what we have to have in Parliament, not the sideshows that we're seeing at the moment."

Brendan, who is in his 40s, isn't worried about the pressure of being a politician.

"I've been in pressure-cooker environments before. When I do a job I dive into it 110 percent. For the weather, it was nothing for me to work 10/12 hour days."

Standing as the NZ First candidate for the East Coast, which includes Whakatane, Optiki and Gisborne, Brendan is hoping to dislodge National's Anne Tolley.

As part of his "massive commitment" to the region and his campaign, Brendon has put his Mt Maunganui house on the market and is relocating his family wife Miranda and their children Kiahi, six, and Leilani, two-and-a-half to Whakatane.

"I grew up in Whakatane and I've always wanted to go home. I also believe if I'm running in the area I should live in the area," he said.

While Brendan is campaigning hard to grab his electorate, Rawiri's goal is to lift the Greens' party vote.

Standing in Maungakiekie, which covers One Tree Hill to Mt Wellington, Rawiri doesn't expect to replace outgoing Labour stalwart Mark Gosche as the electorate's MP.

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"I've got no desire at this stage to be a Parliamentarian, so I'm not actively chasing the candidate vote. But, hopefully, I can help build the party vote in the electorate," he said.

Rawiri, whose stage and screen career spans 35 years, told Sunday News he decided to stand only a few weeks ago.

"I saw there hadn't been a (Greens) candidate for Maungakiekie and I thought maybe I could help lift the party vote," he said.

"Green support in Maungakiekie hasn't been strong. They got about 1000 party votes last time. My aim is to double that. If I get 2000 I'll be happy. I'm hoping to be a part of changing the profile of the Green voter."

The father of six and grandfather of nine said he had plenty to do if he didn't make the Beehive this time.

"I'm having a great time being an actor, a writer and a director," he said.

"I'm going to be working at the Shakespeare Globe theatre for six months next year in London. I'm in the Netherlands in the next few weeks then I'm in South Africa after that working on TV and film stuff."

Rawiri, 54, said he hadn't thought much about what he'd do if he was elected.

"I would have to give it serious consideration. I don't believe it will happen."

- Sunday News

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