John Tamihere replaces Che Wilson as Māori Party president

John Tamihere is the new president of the Māori Party.
Abigail Dougherty/Stuff
John Tamihere is the new president of the Māori Party.

Former Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere has replaced Che Wilson as the party’s president.

Tamihere has a career in social services, after working in broadcasting and as a MP and minister of the Labour Party.

At the 2020 election, he stood as co-leader of Te Pāti Māori beside Debbie Ngarewa-Packer​. When Rawiri Waititi won the Waiariki seat, which brought the Māori Party back to Parliament without Tamihere, he stood down as co-leader.

Tamihere remained in the party as its tāne vice president until Wednesday night, when Te Pāti Māori confirmed he had taken over as party president.

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He had been expected to take over as president for some time.

Stuff understands the Māori Party’s changing of the guard had been ongoing for at least a month, and its special general meeting on Wednesday night confirmed the change which was already underway.

Wilson, in a statement, said he was stepping down to focus on his businesses and whānau.

He said party members welcomed the change of president during Wednesday night’s meeting.

“My vacancy was filled by John Tamihere with excitement and clear focus on our campaign. So, I am pleased to leave the Pāti with a President that was elected as the sole candidate,” he said.

Wilson has a background in commerce, iwi governance and also the public sector, where he was the deputy chief executive of the Ministry for the Environment.

Che Wilson says he has stepped down as Māori Party president to focus more on family and his businesses.
BRODY DOLAN / STUFF
Che Wilson says he has stepped down as Māori Party president to focus more on family and his businesses.

Tamihere thanked Wilson, saying he was responsible for leading the rebuild of the Māori Party following its defeat at the 2017 election.

As well as standing as its co-leader and acting as a vice president of the party, Tamihere has strong links to the current party leadership and workings.

He is Waititi’s father-in-law. Waititi’s wife and Tamihere​’s eldest daughter, Kiri Tamihere-Waititi, is also a key player in the Māori Party – working in communications and campaigning for the party.