Te Pāti Māori to ‘strengthen ties’ with Māori, Indigenous in Australia ahead of kapa haka festival

Te Pāti Māori will look to strengthen ties with Māori in Australia and local indigenous communities when party representatives travel to the Gold Coast on Monday for the week, in time for the Australian edition of Te Matatini 2025 qualifying.

Co-leader Rawiri Waititi and Tāmaki-Makaurau MP Takutai Tarsh Kemp’s visit in the lead-up to the 9th Australian National Kapa haka Festival will be an opportunity for both MPs and the party to “build on connections” with whānau Māori in Australia as well as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, they said Sunday.

“There are over 180 thousand Māori who are living in Australia according to the last census. It is important that we build connections with them and their whānau, as part of our role to represent their interests,” said Waititi.

“Our visit will focus on creating awareness of the issues grappling our people in Aotearoa, what their specific aspirations and challenges are and why it is important that they enrol and participate in elections.”

The visit will include a meeting with independent indigenous senator for Victoria, Lidia Thorpe, on Thursday.

“I also want to create some awareness around our indigenous responsibilities when living abroad. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the oldest indigenous culture on this planet.

“As manuhiri to this sacred whenua, it is important that Māori understand their responsibilities as manuhiri but also their accountability to the whenua and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples of Australia.

“We are really looking forward to creating ties with indigenous counterparts including Senator Thorpe who shares very similar values and approaches to the representation of indigenous Australians, as we do in Aotearoa.”

The pōhiri for the kapa haka festival takes place on Friday, with the competition starting on Saturday.

Waititi and Kemp’s programme includes engagements with performing kapa haka, their whānau and communities. The MPs will also be the masters of ceremony at the event, which determines which groups from Australia qualify for Te Matatini.