The Māori King is set to publicly endorse a Waikato-Tainui tribal leader who is expected to be the Māori Party’s candidate in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.
Rahui Papa has for many years been a key figure within King Tuheitia’s inner circle. He is currently the chairman of Te Arataura the tribal executive of Waikato-Tainui.
The King will make the announcement on Thursday afternoon at Parawera Marae, south of Hamilton, where local celebrations are being held in honour of the Māori King.
Mr Papa is set to challenge incumbent Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta for the seat. It will be the closest race the electorate has seen in decades.
Mahuta has a large majority but that is partly because she has had the backing of Tainui. If Tainui voters follow the endorsement of their King, then the seat could come into play.