Pita Sharples

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The Honourable
Pita Russell Sharples
Pita sharples.jpg
Pita Sharples in 2010
42nd Minister of Māori Affairs
In office
19 November 2008 (2008-11-19) – 8 October 2014
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Parekura Horomia
Succeeded by Te Ururoa Flavell
Co-leader of the Māori Party
In office
7 July 2004 (2004-07-07) – 1 July 2013
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Te Ururoa Flavell
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Tāmaki Makaurau
In office
5 October 2005 – 20 August 2014
Preceded by John Tamihere
Succeeded by Peeni Henare
Majority 2127 (11.11%)
Personal details
Born (1941-07-20) 20 July 1941 (age 73)
Waipawa, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand
Political party Māori Party
Website www.pitasharples.co.nz

Pita Russell Sharples CBE (born Peter Russell Sharples,[1] 20 July 1941) is a Māori academic and politician, who was a co-leader of the Māori Party from 2004 to 2013, and a minister outside Cabinet in the National Party-led government from 2008 to 2014. He was the member of Parliament for the Tāmaki Makaurau electorate in Auckland since the 2005 election. On 1 July 2013 he said he would step down from his co-leader role in the Maori Party and that he would retire from politics altogether at the end of the parliamentary term in 2014.

Early life[edit]

Sharples was born in Waipawa, a town in Hawke's Bay.[2] His mother Ruiha was of Ngāti Kahungunu, and his father Paul was a shearer and a second generation New Zealander whose family came from Bolton, United Kingdom.[3]

He received his early education at Waipukurau District High School, but then became a boarder at Te Aute College. His four years there culminated in him becoming head boy, and he credits this time as a turning point of his life.[4] He then attended the University of Auckland, studying education. After graduating, he remained at the University as an instructor, working at the Faculty of Education. He subsequently gained an MA (1st class) in Anthropology, and later a PhD in Anthropology and Linguistics – both also from the University of Auckland.[5]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
2005–2008 48th Tamaki Makaurau 2 Māori
2008–2011 49th Tāmaki Makaurau 2 Māori
2011–2014 50th Tāmaki Makaurau 8 Māori

In addition to his academic work, Sharples has long advocated a separate Māori political party. After the foreshore and seabed controversy in 2003–2004, Sharples joined forces with Tariana Turia a former minister in the Labour Party government who resigned over the issue. Turia and Sharples organised a new party based around Turia's Te Tai Hauāuru seat which was launched on 7 July 2004 as the Māori Party with Sharples as co-leader.

In the 2005 general election Sharples contested and won the urban Auckland seat of Tamaki Makaurau displacing former Labour MP John Tamihere.

Minister of Māori Affairs[edit]

In the 2008 general election Sharples was re-elected[6] with a majority of more than 7000.[7][8] The National Party won more seats overall and formed a minority government with support from the Māori Party, ACT New Zealand and United Future. Sharples was appointed as Minister of Māori Affairs, although like other support party members he remained outside Cabinet.[9] Dr Sharples was returned to parliament in the 2011 general election,[10] and is the only current New Zealand MP to be over the age of 70.


  1. ^ "Sharples continues rapid rise in politics". National Business Review. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Dr Pita Sharples". New Zealand Parliament. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Connew, Bruce (Spring 2004). "Main protagonists of the new Māori Party" (PDF). Te Karaka (Ngāi Tahu) (25): p. 14. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Barry, Maggie (2007). "Inspiring mana". The Listener. (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Hon Dr Pita Sharples". beehive.govt.nz. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Appointment of Ministers" (21 November 2008) 179 New Zealand Gazette 4633 at4634.
  7. ^ 2008 General Election: Results of the Official Count" (22 November 1980) 180 New Zealand Gazette 4637.
  8. ^ Tamaki Makaurau results 2008.
  9. ^ Trevett, Claire (17 November 2008). "Maori Party takes 'sensible position'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "2011 General Election And Referendum On The Voting System Results Of The Official Count" (10 December 2011) 190 New Zealand Gazette 5477.

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John Tamihere
Member of Parliament for Tāmaki Makaurau
Succeeded by
Peeni Henare
Political offices
Preceded by
Parekura Horomia
Minister of Māori Affairs
Succeeded by
Te Ururoa Flavell
Party political offices
New political party Co-leader of the Māori Party
Served alongside: Tariana Turia
Succeeded by
Te Ururoa Flavell