NZ Election 2020: Who will take the Hauraki-Waikato electorate after a decade of Nanaia Mahuta at the helm?

The battle for the Hauraki-Waikato electorate will be tight, with just two candidates facing off for the region.

The seat is held by Nanaia Mahuta - a formidable opponent who has held the position since it was established more than a decade ago. But Māori Party candidate Donna Pokere-Phillips is stepping up to the plate.

The pair will face off in a live debate on The Hui on Wednesday 16 September, streaming live on,  to prove who is best to represent the region.

Mahuta is the Minister for Māori Development and has been attempting to foster Crown and iwi partnerships for projects such as housing - which is in great demand across the electorate.

Mahuta has also recently thrown her support behind the Labour Party campaign to turn Matariki into a public holiday saying this would positively acknowledge Māori astronomy, knowledge and practices.

She may have sat in the electorate since 2008 but Mahuta has a strong challenger in Pokere-Phillips.

Donna Pokere-Phillips and Nanaia Mahuta.
Donna Pokere-Phillips and Nanaia Mahuta. Photo credit: Māori Party/The AM Show

Formerly a TOP candidate, Pokere-Phillips said joining the Māori Party "felt like coming home".

She has previously advocated for Māori in employment disputes, environmental challenges and criminal defences. She was also part of the Waitangi Tribunal claim against the Armed Response Trials, an issue she believes has not fully been put to rest. 

It's expected she will bring heavy criticism of the Government's response to COVID-19, namely the lack of a Māori response. No doubt this will be a key discussion point in the attempt to gain the support of voters in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

With representation in Hauraki-Waikato remaining much the same since 2008, the question on everyone's lips is whether a post-COVID world will bring a change.

Watch the Hauraki-Waikato electorate debate live from 8pm on Wednesday to see why each candidate thinks they're best for the job.