Maori Party candidate believes better life for Napier in reach

Election Candidate Profile: Maryanne Marsters (Maori Party)
Napier Electorate

When Maryanne Marsters and her family left the Pacific for New Zealand in the 1960s, they arrived in “the land of milk and honey”.

“My father could walk out of a job and walk into another job straight away. There were lots of jobs going, life wasn’t easy but there were lots of jobs and you could pay your bills, you could buy a house.

“I’d like to see that better life again. “

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This is why the Marewa resident is standing as the Maori Party’s candidate for Napier – where she has lived since her family emigrated.

Born in the Cook Islands, her new “stomping ground” was Bay View, although she attended school in Napier. After travelling and living overseas she returned to Hawke’s Bay with a newfound appreciation for the region.

“When I came back here I was blown away at the landscape that was here. By going away and coming back, I was able to see Napier and Hawke’s Bay through these new eyes.”

On her return, she also began looking at her career, but found there was an imbalance.

She noticed some – namely Pacific women – were in managerial roles, and had high qualifications, yet the people they reported to were not as qualified.

“That’s kind of what spurred me on to look at education,” she said. “To get to an equitable level, where differences can be made.”

This sparked an eight year journey for Ms Marsters, beginning with studying performing arts at EIT, and ending with her masters from Victoria University. She now works in the early childhood sector, and teaches a paper at EIT.

She only became involved in politics after questioning the state of things in New Zealand – “why aren’t we moving forward, why is the suicide rate so high” – and how she could do her part to fix these issues.

“I’ve studied, I’ve got all these degrees and qualifications, but where am I. I’m still part-time working, and I’m still struggling. So if I’m struggling, and I have my masters, what about those who don’t?”

Her first foray into politics was standing for Napier City Council last year. The Maori Party won her support after proving to her that it was sincere in what it would deliver.

“All these years, looking around and thinking ‘I’m not very happy with the state of things’, one of the big things that kept on jumping out for me, and what other people said is centred around sincerity.

“Promises are made, promises are broken. How many have been followed through?”

By standing as a candidate, she hoped to “be able to step forward into the Beehive, and be in a position to make changes. I think that for me, it’s almost like a dream come true.”

Ensuring the provinces had a say, and raising the standard of living were her key drivers.

Although there had been some criticism the party did not help all of the community, Ms Marsters said when people in hard situations were helped – whether in housing, or in health – this benefited the entire community.

“It always has a positive effect for all, and I think sometimes people forget that.

“I think New Zealand Aotearoa is still a land of milk and honey.

“There’s been changes, and we need to see the opportunities that are here … and work with those to ensure that we are raising the standard of living, by making the best of this land of milk and honey.”

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