Marama Davidson hails 'Ihumātao protectors' in speech confirming Tāmaki Makaurau electorate bid

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson has confirmed she plans to run for the Auckland-based Māori electorate of Tāmaki Makaurau, during a speech in which she hailed the "protectors of Ihumātao".

Davidson, currently a list MP for the Greens, said Tāmaki Makaurau - the Māori name for Auckland - is her home and she will be "seeking the Green Party's nomination" for the electorate, as she did last election. 

"I am proudly an Auckland MP. When our communities in this city do well, it is good for communities throughout Aotearoa," Davidson said in her State of the Planet speech on Tuesday in Auckland. 

"Every day, I work for the communities and the people of Tāmaki Makaurau in Wellington. I work to support the call from Māori to have a tangata whenua response to ending homelessness... to make sure everyone has enough to live a dignified life."

Davidson will be running against Labour MP Peeni Henare, who holds the Tāmaki Makaurau seat. Newshub understands former Labour MP John Tamihere - who unsuccessfully ran for Auckland Mayor - will run for the Māori Party. 

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick is running for the Auckland Central electorate which is currently held by National MP Nikki Kaye, who has held it for three elections - even beating Jacinda Ardern in 2014.  

The Greens currently hold no electorates but won eight party seats at the 2017 election. 

Davidson pointed to what she saw as successes since the Greens formed the Government with Labour and New Zealand First, including banning new offshore oil and gas permits and passing the Zero Carbon Bill. 

"It is only with the Greens in Government that we've turned the ship around, but we know we need to go further and faster on the issues that matter," Davidson said. 

"Strong political leadership must recognise that tangata whenua and grassroots community movements are dedicated to protecting our future and the environment, and we need to support them."

Davidson used her speech to hail the protesters at Ihumātao, an area of land in Mangere near Auckland International Airport, where Māori activists have been protesting against Fletcher Building's plans to build 500 homes.

"One of the greatest privileges of working in Tāmaki Makaurau is being able to know and support the kaitiaki protectors of Ihumātao," Davidson said, highlighting protest leader Pania Newton. 

"Thank you for your focus on the more enduring path for justice, and returning the land to mana whenua. When others belittle you, your power grows stronger due to the tens of thousands around the country who support you."

Green MPs have visited the site, as well as Labour Party ministers Willie Jackson and Henare, and protesters are continuing to call on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to visit and hear their concerns. 

The Prime Minister negotiated a temporary halt to construction at Ihumātao in July last year while a solution was sought but that is still yet to be announced. 

Davidson was spotted alongside her Green colleagues at an Ihumātao protest outside Parliament in August last year, where sign saying "Jacinda = Traitor" was held up. 

The Green Party first entered Parliament in 1999, with former MP Jeanette Fitzsimons winning the party's first and only electorate seat of Coromandel. 

Davidson co-leads the party with Cabinet Minister James Shaw.