A mixture of serious debate and light-hearted jabs filled the Māori Television studio Tuesday night as political parties’ best te reo-speaking candidates Shane Jones, Peeni Henare, Sonny Wilcox, Rawiri Waititi and Teanau Tuiono vied to get their messages across to secure the crucial Māori vote.
But while all the candidates might have walked away with some wins, it was te reo Māori that won the night. In the only cross-party debate in te reo māori, all the candidates congratulated Māori TV for hosting the special event, which was seen as a ‘different’ debate, with tikanga Māori leading the korero.
“Ka rawe ki te whakarongo ki ngā māngai o ngā ropū torangapu o ngā paati katoa. Ko te reo Maori te toa!” one facebook user said.
“He rerekē te āhua, te tautohetohe i roto i te reo rangatira, he pai, he piki te tangata. Ehara te whakaiti i tètahi ki tētahi.” another commented.
One user referred to the fact that the candidates were focused on the issues and not the candidates: “Ka rawe i mau rātou ki te tikanga patua te kaupapa e hara te tangata”
Māori Television resumes its coverage of the seven Māori electorates with Te Tai Tonga tomorrow night (Wednesday, Ocober 7) at 7pm.