Labour is on track to field a record number of Māori MPs for any party, with 16 so far looking to enter Parliament.
And eyes are on the Waiariki seat with the Māori Party’s Rawiri Waititi tied at one point with Labour incumbent Tāmati Coffey.
With 82 per cent of the votes counted Waititi had pulled slightly ahead of Coffey by 125 points, giving the MP hope of winning the race to Parliament on what is his 40th birthday.
At the 2017 election, 13 of Labour’s Māori MPs were elected to Parliament, a record number for any party at the time.
Based on results so far, Labour will add another three, and potentially four, Māori MPs.
The new candidates include Shanan Halbert who is leading in the Northcote electorate over National MP Dan Bidois.
Arena Williams is in the safe Labour seat of Manurewa, while it looks like Soraya Peke-Mason could steal the historically blue seat of Rangitīkei from incumbent Ian McKelvie.
However only a third of the Rangitīkei votes have been counted so far and Peke-Mason is leading by just 500 votes over McKelvie, who won safely in 2017 with a margin of 10,290.
Another result to watch is Kerrin Leoni in Waikato, where she is trailing National’s Tim Van De Molen by 2000 votes.
Leoni is 66 on the Labour list so is unlikely to enter Parliament without winning the seat.
Labour’s potential Māori MPs include Kelvin Davis – Te Tai Tokerau, Nanaia Mahuta – Hauraki-Waikato, Peeni Henare – Tāmaki Makaurau, Willie Jackson – list, Adrian Rurawhe – Te Tai Hauāuru, Kiritapu Allan – East Coast, Louisa Wall – list, Meka Whaitiri – Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Rino Tirikatene – Te Tai Tonga, Willow-Jean Prime – Northland, Jo Luxton – Rangitata, Paul Eagle – Rongotai, Shanan Halbert – Northcote, Arena Williams – Manurewa and Soraya Peke-Mason – Rangitīkei.
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