May 04, 2014
Old battle inspires new battle
The Maori Party’s Waikato Hauraki candidate says she decided to put her hand up for the role at the site of a battle fought by her ancestors.
Susan Cullen was appointed unopposed on Saturday to contest the seat held by Labour's Nanaia Mahuta.
She’s the daughter of Te Wananga o Aotearoa founder Rongo Wetere, and developed many of the wananga’s ground-breaking programmes aimed at bringing second chance learners back into the education system.
Ms Cullen says she’s been a Maori Party activist since the party started, and was working to identify potential candidates.
That changed at the commemoration of the Battle of Orakau.
"The moment just took me. It was the moment of our rangatahi standing up and talking about how women took a stand at Orakau and I was sitting next to Te Ururoa (Flavell) and I turned to him and said ‘I’ll offer you my candidacy if you’ll have me,’" Ms Cullen says.
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