Stop asking if Simon Bridges is Māori enough - Kanoa Lloyd

National's new leader has had his heritage called into question in the wake of his rise to the helm this week.

Some have questioned whether Simon Bridges is really "Māori enough" to warrant the title of the party's first Māori leader, but The Project host Kanoa Lloyd says she doesn't believe that's a fair criticism. 

"'What percentage is he? Is he an eighth, a sixteenth, a thirty-twoth?' These are the kinds of weird questions we were obsessed with answering in the 80s," she said.

Lloyd says the answer to all these queries is the same: Māori is Māori.

"It's not up to you and me to decide who's Māori and who isn't."

Many well-known New Zealanders are Māori despite looking quite different from one another; Anika Moa, TJ Perenara, Mihingarangi Forbes - the list goes on. 

Lloyd likens being Māori to being in the mafia or Hotel California: "Once you're in, you're in."

"Instead of asking questions like 'how Māori is he?' and 'why is he only saying he's Māori now?' what if we ask questions like 'how are we going to stop so many of our whanau from ending up in prison?'"

She welcomes Mr Bridges, Paula Bennett and anyone else from the National caucus into the Māori community.

"We are not going to take DNA samples, we're just really keen to get stuff done," she concluded.

Watch the full segment on The Project.