Election 2023: Labour chooses Cushla Tangaere-Manuel to run for Ikaroa Rawhiti in place of Meka Whaitiri

Labour has chosen Cushla Tangaere-Manuel as the party's candidate to compete for the Ikaroa Rawhiti seat currently held by defected Meka Whaitiri.

With Whaitiri leaving Labour for Te Pāti Māori earlier this year, the party was forced to select a new candidate to run for the seat in October's election.

"I am honoured to be confirmed as the candidate for Ikaroa Rawhiti, starting… a new page in my career," Tangaere-Manual said.

"Above all, running in this election is about serving our people."

Tangaere-Manual, who is new to politics, acknowledged the regions impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle - several of which are in the Ikaroa Rawhiti electorate - in announcing her candidacy.

"Ikaroa Rawhiti deserves to have a strong candidate in order to deliver much-needed resources especially as we recover from Cyclone Gabrielle," she continued.

Before politics, Tangaere-Manual was the Māori programme manager for the New Zealand Rugby Union. She was also the chief executive of the Ngāti Porou East Coast Rugby Union.

Tangaere-Manual was also previously a journalist for Marae and worked on Māori TV.

Cushla Tangaere-Manuel.
Cushla Tangaere-Manuel. Photo credit: Sky Sport

"Cushla has the skills, experience, work ethic and values to advocate for Māori and will complement our strong Labour Māori caucus whānau," said Labour's Willie Jackson. "Cushla is well known and highly regarded in the electorate having served as the CEO of the mighty sky blue Ngāti Porou East Coast rugby union, the only iwi-based union, for nine years," said Jackson, the chair of the party's Māori caucus.

In the upcoming election, Tangaere-Manual and Whaitiri are the two confirmed candidates for the electorate. Elizabeth Kerere, who contested the seat for the Greens in 2020, resigned from the party earlier this year and was retiring from politics at this year's election.