"Te kōwhiringa pōti Māori: Me rārangi Māori, me rārangi auraki rānei?" Exploring rangatahi Māori experiences of the Māori electoral option process: A mixed-method approach
In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori voters have the option to sign up for one of two electoral rolls: the Māori roll or the general roll. This function of Indigenous political choice and representation occupies a unique place in Aotearoa New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements.
While the Māori electorates have been around for over 150 years, the number of seats have grown from only four to seven in the New Zealand House of Parliament. Electoral roll populations determine the number of seats in Parliament, and provide a sole line of accountability to Māori communities for elected representatives. The Māori Electoral Option, which provides voters the opportunity to change rolls, is only presented once every five years. In this thesis I identify three pervasive systemic barriers, as well as a number of other issues, present in the electoral roll option process.
This research contributes to the growing literature looking at rangatahi Māori experiences intersecting with identity, place, space and time. Through a Kaupapa Māori lens, this thesis uses interview findings and quantitative analysis to discuss the experiences of rangatahi navigating the Māori electoral roll choice. Here I explore the various influences and complexities which impact rangatahi Māori interaction with the electoral rolls as well as the broader socio-political landscape.