Last weekend Georgina te Heuheu announced her retirement. Georgie became a National MP in 1996, and off memory was the only National MP who was of Maori descent.
Today National has eight MPs of Maori descent. On top of that National’s candidates in Northland, Wellington Central and Dunedin South are of Maori descent. And on current polling they could all well become MPs via the party list if they do not win their seats.
This has all happened with no quotas.
What is remarkable isn’t so much that National is selecting so many Maori candidates, but that so many Maori are making themselves available to stand for National. 20 years ago it was near unthinkable.
UPDATE: And to further make my point, Claudette Hauiti has just been selected as the Mangere candidate. 11 out of 63 candidates in general seats are Maori.