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William Wakatere Jackson[1] (born 1961) is a New Zealand politician and former top Maori broadcaster and Urban Maori chief executive. He was an Alliance MP from 1999 to 2002, and in 2017 was elected as a Labour MP.[2]

Willie Jackson

Willie Jackson.jpg
Minister of Employment
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour Party List
Assumed office
23 September 2017
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Party List
In office
27 November 1999 – 22 July 2002
Personal details
Born1961 (age 57–58)
Nationality New Zealand
Political partyLabour Party (from 2017)
Alliance (1999–2002)
Moana Maniapoto
(div. 2001)
RelativesSyd Jackson (uncle)
Moana Jackson (uncle)
Everard Jackson (grandfather)
Fred Jackson (great-grandfather)

Early lifeEdit

Jackson was born in 1961, and grew up in Porirua and Mangere. In his teenage years Jackson attended Mangere College. He has worked in a number of jobs, including trade union organiser, record company executive, broadcaster, talkback radio host and urban Māori advocate. He was also the manager for the ground-breaking band 'Moana and the Moahunters' throughout the 1980s and '90s.[citation needed]

Political lifeEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1999–2002 46th List 9 Alliance
2017–present 52nd List 22 Labour

In 1995, Jackson joined the Mana Motuhake party, a Māori party which formed part of the Alliance. In the 1996 election, he stood unsuccessfully for Parliament. In the 1999 election, however, he was elected as an Alliance list MP. In 2001, Jackson successfully challenged Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee for the leadership of the party.

Jackson served as the leader of the Mana Motuhake party from 2001 to 2004 when most of the party's membership then became part of the Māori party and Mana Motuhake disestablished.[citation needed]

When the Alliance began to collapse in 2002, Jackson sided with the faction led by Laila Harré and Matt McCarten, and remained with the party when Jim Anderton established his breakaway group. In the 2002 election, Jackson became Deputy Leader of the Alliance under Harré's leadership, but the Alliance failed to win any seats.[citation needed]

Life between politicsEdit

Shortly after the 2002 election, Mana Motuhake left the Alliance and Jackson worked on setting up a new pan-tribal independent Māori party. He then supported Tariana Turia when she quit the Labour Party and founded the new Māori Party where Jackson and McCarten played supporting roles. He currently works as a community Chief Executive with the Manukau Urban Māori Authority. He is also a broadcaster and a political commentator.[citation needed]

  • Since 2003, Jackson has run a nationwide Māori current affairs show 'Paakiwaha' on Radio Waatea.
  • Between 2004 and 2009 he was the host of the award winning Eye to Eye, a weekly Television New Zealand political debate series with emphasis on political issues facing Māori.
  • In 2007 Jackson and former Labour MP John Tamihere fronted a Television New Zealand (TVNZ) show pertaining to wider New Zealand views on Māori issues called 'The World according to Willie and JT'.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, he was the host of a Māori current affairs show on Māori Television called 'Willie Jackson's News Bites'.
  • He has been a political commentator on TVNZ's Good Morning, Breakfast and late night shows, and has been the political commentator for TVNZ's Marae show since 2012. He has also commentated TVNZ's election coverage in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
  • Jackson also co-hosted with Tamihere a national, award-winning talkback show, Willie & JT,[3] on Radio Live each weekday afternoon between 2006 and 2013. This show was controversially stopped in November 2013 over the Roast Busters scandal.
  • In February 2014, Jackson started a new daily national talkback show on Radio Live with former TVNZ personality, Alison Mau.
  • Jackson is the chairman for the National Urban Māori Authority (Urban Māori Authorities that are nationwide); the chairman for the 21 Iwi Māori Radio Stations (Te Whakaruruhau ō Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori); and is the chairman for the Māori Television Electoral College (Te Pūtahi Paoho).

Despite the controversy that arose out of the Roast Busters scandal, Jackson and Tamihere won the prestigious North Island Whānau Ora contract in 2014 with their National Urban Māori Authority. It is the biggest independent contract that has been allocated to Māori (over $14 million per annum). Their work in the communities of South Auckland and West Auckland with Māori was seen as the primary reason for them winning the contract according to Whānau Ora Minister, Tariana Turia.[citation needed]

Politically, Jackson is seen as someone who supports and advises Māori candidates right across the political spectrum. He has been a vocal supporter of Tariana Turia (from the Māori Party), Pita Sharples (from the Māori Party), Rangi McLean (from the Māori Party), Claudette Hauiti (from the National Party), Winston Peters (from New Zealand First), and is viewed as one of Hone Harawira's (from the Mana Party) closest supporters.[citation needed]

Return to ParliamentEdit

In 2017, Jackson returned to politics. He stood down from his high profile talkback show on Radio Live where he had been host for 10 years and stood down from his political commentary role on TVNZ's Marae television series. The-then Opposition leader Andrew Little convinced Jackson to stand for the New Zealand Labour Party during the 2017 election.[4][5] Jackson was ranked 21 on Labour's party list and also served as the party's Māori Campaign Director.[6][7]

During the 2017 election, Jackson was successfully elected as a Labour Party list candidate.[8] Following the election, Jackson resigned from his position as chief executive of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, chairman of Te Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi Māori, the Māori radio network and chairman of the National Urban Maori Authority.[9] Following post-election negotiations between Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens which led to the formation of a coalition government, Jackson was appointed by Prime Minister-Designate Jacinda Ardern as the Minister of Employment and Associate Minister for Māori Development following Labour's formation of a government with New Zealand First and the Greens.[10][11]

Notable relativesEdit

Willie Jackson is the son of Bob Jackson and Dame June Jackson, one of New Zealand's longest serving parole board members.[12] His uncles are activist Syd Jackson[13] and lawyer Moana Jackson. His grandfather is All Black Everard Jackson.[citation needed] Jackson's ex-wife is singer Moana Maniapoto.


  1. ^ "Daily progress for Tuesday, 7 November 2017". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Advocating Willie Jackson". Retrieved 19 March 2008.
  3. ^ "Willie & JT on RadioLIVE". MediaWorks. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  4. ^ Moir, Jo (2 May 2017). "Willie Jackson's role in the Labour Party is still a bone of contention". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  5. ^ Forbes, Mihingarangi (5 February 2017). "Willie Jackson to stand for Labour". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Willie Jackson appointed as Labour's Māori Campaign Director". New Zealand Labour Party. Scoop. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  7. ^ Jones, Nicholas (2 May 2017). "Willie Jackson fails to lift ranking on Labour's list". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  8. ^ "2017 General Election – Official Result Successful Candidates". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Tribute to former chair Willie Jackson". Te Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi Māori. Scoop. 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Who's in? Who's out?". Radio NZ. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Ministerial List". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  12. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (7 June 2010). "Straight-talking Dame recalls humble origins". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  13. ^ "'True warrior' Jackson dies". The Dominion Post. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2016.