Māori Party considers major shake-up as Te Ururoa Flavell steps down

The Māori Party is considering not having any leaders at all, as co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell (Ngapuhi, Ngati Rangiwewehi, Te Arawa) officially steps down from the party.

It follows the party's failure to win any electorates in the 2017 election, when the Labour Party took a clean sweep of all seven Māori seats and won 1.1 percent of the party vote.

Leader Marama Fox says Mr Flavell is "one of the most underrated and underestimated leaders of Māoridom".

"If working hard was a prerequisite for winning a Māori seat, Te Ururoa should have been Prime Minister," she told Newshub.

Mr Flavell represented the Māori Party in Parliament for 12 years. He was co-leader from 2013 until 2018, serving as Minister for Māori Development from 2014 until 2017.

Māori Party considers major shake-up as Te Ururoa Flavell steps down
Photo credit: Newshub.

Reflecting on the election loss at a speaking event in December, Mr Flavell said the Māori Party struggled to defend Labour's claim that it was "the Māori branch of the National Party" and to overcome a perception it was only for Māori voters.

"What's right for Māori is right for the country," Mr Flavell said at the time.

The election loss was a big moment for the party. As it recovers, the party is conduction a major review of it political direction, leadership, structure and membership.

Post-election the party elected a new executive team, with Che Wilson taking over as president and Kapua Smith and Mr Flavell elected co-vice presidents.

One of the decisions the party will make is pretty radical - whether to have a leader or co-leader at all when the party is not in Parliament.

Former Māori Party president Tuku Morgan took a much more public-facing role, compared to the largely backstage position taken by presidents of other parties.

Mr Flavell will take up a role as CEO of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.