Waikato University lecturer Angeline Greensill will challenge Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta for the new Hauraki-Waikato seat at next year's election.
Ms Greensill was named the Maori Party candidate over three other nominees at a final selection hui on Tuesday night.
The 59-year-old is an environmental and land rights advocate for Tainui hapu and was the 2005 Maori Party candidate for the Tainui seat.
She is also the daughter of veteran land rights campaigner Eva Rickard, who rose to prominence in the 1970s when she battled for the return of the Raglan golf course to local iwi.
Electorate council co-chair Tureiti Moxon said the Hauraki-Waikato seat was "very winnable" if a recent Marae-Digipoll survey was anything to go by.
The survey showed the Maori Party and Labour were neck-and-neck in the seat at 43.9 per cent support each.
However Maori political commentator, and former Tainui spokesman Jon Stokes believes the level-pegging will not necessarily be enough for Ms Greensill to win the seat off Ms Mahuta, and that the party should have taken a fresh approach to the candidacy. "Based on their momentum as a political force the Maori Party have the potential to win the Tainui seat," he said.
"But there was potential to find someone with a fresh new dynamisn to run a campaign because Nanaia is formidable now."
In 2005, Ms Mahuta retained the seat with a 1790-vote margin over Ms Greensill.
"So if Angeline expects to have a result this time she's going to have to do things differently," Mr Stokes said.
"She's going to have to develop greater support within the Kingitanga, and she's going to have to demonstrate a freshness that distances her from the (political) failures she's had in the past."
He believed the party should have canvassed the region better to find a broader selection of candidates.
Ms Greensill said she had already begun her campaign to lift her profile and felt strongly that she could win the seat "because I've done it before, I've made contacts, I've got networks. I've been receiving phone calls this morning from kaumatua who are staunchly Kingitanga, who have said they are there for me".
The other candidates were Hori Awa, 52, from Huntly, Hamilton's Solomon Matthews, 28, and Richard Te Ao, 63.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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