Mana Motuhake

  (Redirected from Mana Motuhake (political party))

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]

Mana Motuhake
FounderMatiu Rata
Split fromLabour Party
Merged intoMāori Party
IdeologyMāori rights
Indigenous rights
Social democracy
Political positionCentre-left
ColorsBlack, red and white


Early yearsEdit

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".[2] At Easter 1980, he launched the Mana Motuhake party,[2] 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.[3]

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

In 1991, the party agreed to join forces with three other political parties (NewLabour Party, the Green Party, and the Democratic Party) to form a single group, known as the Alliance. This decision was controversial, as a number of prominent figures in Mana Motuhake believed that by joining the party with non-Māori parties, even sympathetic ones, the party would no longer be free to speak up for Maori. Those who supported the continuation of an independent Māori party founded the new Mana Māori party, led by Eva Rickard.

From the 1990s to deregistrationEdit

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.

With the rise of the new Māori Party, most of Mana Motuhake's support was transferred to the new group, and Mana Motuhake was deregistered in 2005.

Election resultsEdit

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

Election candidates seats won votes percentage
1981 4 0 8,332 0.46%
1984 8 0 5,989 0.31%
1987 7 0 9,789 0.53%
1990 4 0 10,869 0.60%



  1. ^ Simon, Hemopereki (2017). "Te Arewhana Kei Roto i Te Rūma: An Indigenous Neo-Disputatio on Settler Society, Nullifying Te Tiriti, 'Natural Resources' and Our Collective Future in Aotearoa New Zealand". Te Kaharoa. 9 (1).
  2. ^ a b Hill 2009, p. 179.
  3. ^ Norton 1988, p. 398.
  4. ^ Herbert, Patricia (21 March 1994). "Party leader calls it a day". The New Zealand Herald. p. 5.
  5. ^ "Lee dumped as Mana Motuhake leader". The Press. 4 June 2001. p. 9.


  • Hill, Richard S. (2009). Māori and the State : Crown-Māori relations in New Zealand/Aotearoa, 1950-2000. Wellington: Victoria University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Norton, Clifford (1988). New Zealand Parliamentary Election Results 1946–1987: Occasional Publications No 1, Department of Political Science. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. ISBN 0-475-11200-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)