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Rino Tirikatene (born 1972/1973) is a New Zealand politician and a member of the House of Representatives, representing the Te Tai Tonga electorate since the 2011 election. He is a member of the Labour Party. He comes from a family with a strong political history.

Rino Tirikatene

Rino Tirikatene, 2011.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Te Tai Tonga
Assumed office
30 November 2011 (2011-11-30)
Preceded byRahui Katene
Personal details
Born1972/1973 (age 46–47)[1]
Rangiora, New Zealand
Political partyLabour Party
RelationsEruera Tirikatene (grandfather)
Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan (aunt)
WebsiteParty website

Early lifeEdit

Born in Rangiora, Tirikatene affiliates to the Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Hine iwi.[2] He is the grandson of Sir Eruera Tirikatene and the nephew of Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan. His grandfather and aunt between them held the Southern Maori electorate for 64 years from 1932 and 1996. As such, the name Tirikatene is for many voters synonymous with the Māori electorate that covers the southern part of New Zealand.[3]

Prior to running for parliament, Tirikatene worked as a commercial lawyer and in a variety of Māori economic development roles.[4]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2011–2014 50th Te Tai Tonga 45 Labour
2014–2017 51st Te Tai Tonga none Labour
2017–present 52nd Te Tai Tonga none Labour

Tirikatene stood for Labour in Te Puku O Te Whenua in the 1996 election.[5] His father, Rino Tirikatene senior, was originally selected for the seat but died suddenly on the campaign trail. Tirikatene was asked to replace his father.[1] That year, New Zealand First won all Māori electorates, with Rana Waitai beating Tirikatene and Tu Wyllie defeating Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan.[6]

He was selected to represent Labour in the Te Tai Tonga electorate on 1 December 2010.[7] Te Tai Tonga is one of the seven Māori electorates, covers the South Island plus Wellington[8] and is New Zealand's largest electorate by area.[9] In the 2011 New Zealand general election, Tirikatene was placed at number 45 on the Labour Party list.[10]

He contested the Te Tai Tonga electorate against the incumbent, Rahui Katene of the Māori Party. Labour's selection of Tirikatene was criticised as cynical by Katene, as they are both from the same hapū, but this was rejected by Tirikatene, as "all Maoris connect up somewhere along the line".[8] Tirikatene won the electorate with a margin of 1,475 votes.[11] The electorate had previously been held by Labour, from 1999 until 2005.[12]

In 2013, Tirikatene voted against the Marriage Amendment Bill, which aims to permit same sex marriage in New Zealand, with fellow Labour MPs William Sio, Ross Robertson and Damien O'Connor.

Tirikatene significantly increased his majority in the 2014 election.[13] He is currently the Labour spokesperson for customs and fisheries, and associate spokesperson for regional development.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Politics a family affair for Tirikatene". Otago Daily Times. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Rino Tirikatene". New Zealand Parliament. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  3. ^ Potiki, Tahu (18 November 2011). "When politics is in the DNA". The Press. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Another Tirikatene standing for Parliament". Radio New Zealand. 2 December 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Former NZ First MP says party's return counterproductive". Radio New Zealand. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Rino Tirikatene wins Labour's Te Tai Tonga selection". 1 December 2010.
  8. ^ a b Fensome, Alex (20 October 2011). "Labour candidate eyes Southland". The Southland Times. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  9. ^ Birchfield, Daniel (28 September 2011). "Labour's Tirikatene focuses on the elderly". The Timaru Herald. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Labour Party List 2011" (Press release). New Zealand Labour Party. Scoop. 10 April 2011.
  11. ^ "Official Count Results -- Te Tai Tonga". Electoral Commission. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Maori Party loses Te Tai Tonga". The Dominion Post. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Official Count Results -- Te Tai Tonga". Electoral Commission. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Rino Tirikatene". New Zealand Parliament. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Rahui Katene
Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tonga