Patrick Gower: Hone's back with a Mana-Maori deal

He’s back. Hone Harawira has been given a political lifeline via a peace deal with the Maori Party.

The new Mana-Maori Party alliance had its first formal outing at Ratana today, meaning Mr Harawira is back from the political dead.

After years of fighting, the Mana Party and the Maori Party are making the pilgrimage to Ratana Pa together - not as enemies but as friends.

"It means Mana and Maori walking alongside one another together," said Mr Harawira.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Hone Harawira fought to the death and divided the party just a few years back. But at the recent Waka AMA championships, Mana and Maori Rowed together - and thrashed Labour.

Now the Maori Party will not stand against Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau to give him the best chance of beating Labour’s Kelvin Davis, an arrangement Mr Harawira says they have come to "tentatively".

It could be crucial, as last election Mr Harawira lost to Mr Davis by just 743 votes. The Maori Party's candidate got 2579 votes.

 And Mr Harawira says there will be more deals to come, as they "are not in this to come second".

 Ratana is the annual pilgrimage for politicians - but this year, a different pilgrim led the charge. 

 Bill English paid his respects by speaking Te Reo.

"I don't know a whole lot. I can understand roughly half of what is said. And I can use some of it," said Mr English of his language skills.

 This year’s Ratana and this year’s politics are so far all about making friends.