|Member of the New Zealand Parliament
29 June 2013
|Preceded by||Parekura Horomia|
|Born||11 January 1965|
|Profession||chief executive officer|
Meka Whaitiri (born 11 January 1965) is a politician of the Labour Party and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. She won the 2013 Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election, succeeding Labour's Parekura Horomia. She previously worked in senior advisory and management roles.
Whaitiri was born in Manutuke near Gisborne in 1965, and brought up in the Hastings suburb of Whakatu by a whānau of mostly freezing workers. She has affiliation to Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Kahungunu. At Karamu High School, she was head girl. She first worked at a freezing works herself before obtaining a master's degree in education from Victoria University of Wellington. In both softball and netball, she competed to national level. She was selected by the Silver Ferns as a non-travelling reserve player. Her first professional job was for Parekura Horomia, who made her wait eight hours before he saw her, but then hired her immediately for the Department of Labour.
She was a negotiator for Rongowhakaata's treaty settlement. From 2007 to 2009, she was a senior adviser for the Minister of Māori Affairs Office, and thus advised Hon Parekura Horomia while he was the minister. Since 2009, she has been the chief executive officer of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi.
Member of Parliament
|Parliament of New Zealand|
Horomia's death on 29 April 2013 triggered a by-election, which was held on 29 June of that year. Most political analysts predicted that Labour would hold Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, which since its inception for the 1999 election was held by Horomia, and who had a majority of 6,541 votes (29.1%) at the last election in 2011. She went on to win the by-election with a majority of 1659 votes. She was sworn in on 30 July.
Before the by-election, there was speculation in the media that Labour leader David Shearer had been put on notice and a decisive win in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti was regarded as important for his survival. Right-wing political blogger David Farrar called it "a good victory for Labour", and commented that Whaitiri "could be one of the better Labour MPs".
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- Gower, Patrick (27 June 2013). "Shearer put on notice by Labour MPs". TV3 News. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- Farrar, David (30 June 2013). "Ikaroa-Rawhiti byelection: a good victory for Labour". National Business Review. Retrieved 30 June 2013.