Read about Meka Whaitiri net worth, age, partner, husband, children, height, family, parents, salary and party as well as other information you need to know.
Meka Whaitiri is a New Zealand politician. She is a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. She was first elected to Parliament in the 2013 Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election for the Labour Party. She served as Minister of Customs for the Sixth Labour Government on two separate occasions but resigned from her party on 3 May 2023 to contest the next election for Te Pāti Māori. She is currently treated as an independent member in the House.
|Net Worth||$2 million|
Melissa Heni Mekameka Whaitiri was born on January 11, 1965 (age 58 years) in Manutuke, New Zealand. Her parents were Wirangi Wiremu Whaitiri, a Korean War veteran, and Mei Whaitiri (née Irihapiti Robin), who was the model used for the Pania of the Reef statue in Napier in 1954. Whaitiri’s father was a native speaker of te reo Māori who taught the language to his daughter.
Whaitiri has four siblings and was brought up in the Hastings suburb of Whakatu by a whānau of mostly freezing workers. She has affiliation with Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Kahungunu. At Karamu High School, she was the head girl. She first worked at a freezing works before obtaining a master’s degree in education from Victoria University of Wellington. In both softball and netball, she competed at the national level. She was selected by the Silver Ferns as a non-traveling reserve player.
Her first professional job was for Parekura Horomia, then a manager in the Department of Labour, who made her wait eight hours before he saw her, but then hired her immediately. She later worked for the Māori Women’s Welfare League before returning to the Department of Labour as deputy secretary. She worked as an adviser in Horomia’s office when he was Minister of Māori Affairs. From 2009 until her election to Parliament, she was the chief executive officer of Ngāti Kahungunu iwi.
Meka Whaitiri began her parliamentarian journey in 2013. Parekura Horomia, MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti since 1999, died on 29 April 2013. A by-election to fill his seat took place on 29 June 2012. Whaitiri defeated five others for the Labour nomination, including Hastings district councillor Henare O’Keefe, broadcaster Shane Taurima and Ngāti Kahungunu board member Hayden Hape.
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Most political analysts predicted that Labour would hold Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, which Horomia had held since its formation for the 1999 election. At his last election in 2011, Horomia had won a majority of 6,541 votes. Whaitiri won the by-election with a majority of 1659 votes over Mana Party candidate Te Hamua Nikora. Māori Party candidate Na Raihania, who had also been endorsed by National, came third. Right-wing political blogger David Farrar called the by-election a “good victory for Labour”, and commented that Whaitiri “could be one of the better Labour MPs”.
Meka Whaitiri retained Ikaroa-Rawhiti during the 2014 New Zealand general election by a margin of 4,673 votes. As an opposition MP for her first two terms, she was Labour Party spokesperson on water (2014–2015) and local government (2015–2017), and a member of the Māori affairs, primary production, and local government and environment select committees.
Whaitiri retained her Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate seat for the Labour Party during the 2017 general election by a margin of 4,210 votes. Following the 2017 election, Labour formed a coalition government with New Zealand First and the Green Party. Whaitiri was Minister of Customs outside Cabinet. She also served as Associate Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Local Government and Crown/Māori Relations. Alongside Willie Jackson, she co-chaired the Labour Māori Caucus.
On 30 August 2018, a staff member in Whaitiri’s ministerial office alleged she was assaulted by the minister. Whaitiri was removed from her ministerial positions during an investigation and was not restored to them after the investigation found it “probable” that she had bruised the staffer. During the interregnum, she chaired the Justice select committee. On 4 September 2020, the Governor-General granted Whaitiri retention of the title “The Honourable” in “recognition of her term as a member of the Executive Council”.
During the 2020 general election, Whaitiri retained her seat of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by a margin of 6,045 votes. Following the election, she was reappointed as Minister of Customs and Associate Minister of Agriculture (with responsibility for animal welfare) while being appointed as Minister for Veterans and Associate Minister of Statistics. She additionally became Minister for Food Safety in June 2022 and the lead cyclone recovery minister in Hawke’s Bay after Stuart Nash was dismissed from that role in March 2023.
Meka Whaitiri announced on May 3, 2023, that she had officially notified the Speaker of the House that she had resigned from the Labour Party and was joining Te Pāti Māori (the Māori Party). She will replace Heather Te-Au Skipworth as Te Pāti Māori’s candidate for her electorate at the 2023 New Zealand general election.
During her resignation speech, she attributed her decision to defect to her commitment to Māori political activism. Whaitiri’s defection was welcomed by Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and President John Tamihere. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins learned about Whaitiri’s defection after landing in London to attend the coronation of King Charles III.
Following her defection, Acting Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni confirmed that Hipkins had stripped Whaitiri of her ministerial responsibilities on 3 May. Kieran McAnulty became Hawke’s Bay cyclone recovery lead minister, Hawke’s Bay, Ayesha Verrall temporarily assumed the food safety portfolio, Peeni Henare took over the veterans portfolio, and Damien O’Connor temporarily took over the customs portfolio.
Permanent appointments were named on 10 May with Rachel Brooking becoming Minister of Food Safety and Jo Luxton becoming a new minister outside of Cabinet with responsibility for Customs. Some commentary around Whaitiri’s defection, including from Māori development minister Willie Jackson, focused on her apparent disappointment in not receiving a promotion into Cabinet in Hipkins’ earlier reshuffles.
Also on 3 May 2023, Speaker of the House Adrian Rurawhe confirmed that Whaitiri would serve the remainder of her 2020–2023 term as an independent member of Parliament under standing order 35.5, which avoids the waka-jumping provisions of the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Act 2018 from being invoked. Rurawhe’s decision not to invoke the waka-jumping law was criticized by National Party MPs Michael Woodhouse, Chris Bishop, and ACT Party leader David Seymour.
On 4 May 2023, Rurawhe distinguished the Electoral Act from parliament’s standing orders, stating that he had not received from Whaitiri a letter of resignation from Labour, despite her public statements, with the result that Whaitiri remains a Labour MP under electoral legislation, but is an independent MP for parliamentary purposes under standing orders.
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On 10 May 2023, Māori Party leaders Ngarewara-Packer and Waititi staged a haka to welcome Whaitiri to their political party. Speaker Adrian Rurawhe ordered Ngarewara-Packer and Waititi to leave Parliament since they had not received his permission or that of other parliamentary parties to hold the haka. In response, Whaitiri stated that she was “joining a party that doesn’t censor the voice of wāhine Māori (Māori women) … I am joining a party that enables the voice of wāhine Māori to be heard, for our people to celebrate being Māori, unashamedly Māori.”
Is Meka Whaitiri married? Meka Whaitiri has no husband as of May 2023. She is openly lesbian and was previously in a relationship with Kiri Allan. Whaitiri has two children, sons.
Meka Whaitiri net worth
How much is Meka Whaitiri worth? Meka Whaitiri net worth is estimated at around $2 million. Her main source of income is from her primary work as a politician. Meka Whaitiri’s salary per month and other career earnings are over $150,000 dollars annually. Her remarkable achievements have earned her some luxurious lifestyles and some fancy car trips. She is one of the richest and most influential politicians in New Zealand. She stands at an appealing height of 1.65m and has a good body weight which suits her personality.