Tuariki Delamere

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The Honourable
Tuariki Delamere
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Te Tai Hauāuru
In office
Preceded by New constituency
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born 9 December 1951
Papakura, New Zealand
Political party Te Tawharau
Other political
New Zealand First

Tuariki John Delamere (born 9 December 1951) is a former New Zealand politician. He served as an MP from 1996 to 1999, and was a member of Cabinet for the duration of his term.

Early life[edit]

Delamere was born in 1951 at a military hospital in Papakura, and was educated in Tauranga. In 1967 and 1969, he was recognised as the top Māori student in New Zealand. He then attended Washington State University on an athletic scholarship. He obtained a BA in 1974. He later obtained an MBA from Long Island University. For a time, Delamere served in the United States Army, being stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He later joined the staff of the West Point. After leaving the United States, Delamere worked as chief financial officer for Polynesian Airlines. He also held a number of bureaucratic roles. Delamere has also been successful in sporting events; setting records[clarification needed] in long jump and triple jump, and representing New Zealand in those events in the 1974 Commonwealth Games at Christchurch.

New Zealand First[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1998 45th Te Tai Rawhiti 18 NZ First
1998–1999 Changed allegiance to: Te Tawharau

Delamere entered politics in the 1996 elections, when he successfully stood as a candidate for the New Zealand First party in the Te Tai Rawhiti electorate, defeating Sir Peter Tapsell and becoming one of the group known as the Tight Five. Immediately after being elected, he was appointed to Cabinet as part of New Zealand First's coalition deal with the National Party. Among the roles he held during his ministerial career were those of Minister of Immigration, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Associate Minister of Finance, and Associate Minister of Health.[1]

In 1998, the coalition between New Zealand First and the National Party began to break apart, and significant tensions emerged in New Zealand First itself. On 11 August, it was claimed by ACT MP Rodney Hide that Delamere was planning a coup against New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, an allegation which Delamere denied. Two days later, Delamere acknowledged that he had been exploring the possibility a new political party based around the so-called "tight five", New Zealand First's group of Māori MPs (not counting Peters himself). When Peters was sacked from Cabinet, Delamere openly supported the move, and pledged his support to the National Party government regardless of his party's stance. Delamere formally resigned from New Zealand First on 18 August 1998, saying that the party would be better known as "Winston First".

Independent and Te Tawharau[edit]

As an independent, Delamere continued to support the National government, and retained his ministerial portfolios.

On 22 December 1998, Delamere announced gay and lesbian couples applying for permanent residency would have the same rights as straight de facto couples: a change Max Bradford, when Minister of Immigration, stated was too difficult.

In late 1999, however, he lost his role as Minister of Immigration after a scandal regarding the application of immigration rules. Specifically, it emerged that Delamere had approved permanent residency for a group of Chinese businessmen provided they invested generously in various Māori development schemes. Delamere was widely criticised for using his authority to ensure that money was given to certain groups. Delamere himself claimed that his actions were a perfectly reasonable method of addressing Māori development needs. Although he lost the immigration portfolio, he retained his other roles.[2]

Shortly before the 1999 elections, Delamere joined the small Māori Te Tawharau party, giving it its first representation in Parliament. He had previously declined to join the Mauri Pacific party, established by five other former New Zealand First MPs (including three of his "tight five" colleagues). Shortly prior to the election, Delamere announced that his party would support only a Labour Party government on confidence and supply if it won seats in the new Parliament. This was at odds with Delamere's unwavering support of the legislative programme of the Shipley Administration. In the elections, Delamere contested the new Waiariki electorate — he placed second, with 20.01% of the vote. The winner was Mita Ririnui of the Labour Party. He was also placed second on the party list of the Mana Māori Movement, which Te Tawharau was affiliated with, but the party did not win any seats.

Private sector[edit]

Since leaving Parliament, Delamere has established himself as an immigration consultant, founding the company of Tuariki Delamere & Associates. He also owns a successful cabaret restaurant in Auckland, Finale Restaurant and Cabaret.

In 2000 Delamere rejoined the New Zealand National Party, the party he had started his political career with. However he ruled out a return to Parliament to concentrate on his business concerns.[3]

In March and November 2005, Delamere appeared in court on charges of fraud. The trial began in the High Court in Auckland on 7 February 2007.[4] After a 4-week trial, the jury found him not guilty of all charges after less than 2 hours of delibiration on 2 March 2007.[5]


  1. ^ Tuariki Delamere Bio. Epik. Accessed 3 March 2012.
  2. ^ A Second Look At The Leadership Of Richard Prebble
  3. ^ Young, Audrey (19 August 2000). "National's waka nets Waitai". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Former minister in court for fraud". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Ex-immigration minister cleared of fraud". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 2 March 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Te Tai Rawhiti
Constituency abolished
Renamed as Ikaroa-Rawhiti