Now he faces an even bigger challenge, to get around the enormous electorate and rouse the support he will need to take the seat off Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe.
“Without a standing MP, a lot of the electorate has gone to sleep, we Maori Party electors need to be reawakened, renergised and reconnected back to the party,” he said.
Tamati was chosen ahead of South Taranaki’s Debbie Ngarewa-Packer by the Maori Party at a meeting on Saturday.
“When my name got read out it was quite overwhelming,” he said.
“But I was buoyed by the support I’ve been given and the large group of people who came with me to the meeting, I felt really empowered.”
Tamati, of Te Atiawa, Ngati Mutunga and Ngai Tahu, is current chief executive of Sport Taranaki and was a New Plymouth District councillor for 15 years.
He is a former international rugby league player and coach and is the president of NZ Rugby League.
Tamati will be a high profile candidate for the Maori Party. I understand they also have some very high profile candidates lined up for Te Tai Tonga and Hauraki-Waikato.