Explore the fascinating history of Māori participation in New Zealand’s elections, and see how it has evolved over 150 years to become a distinctive part of how we elect our Parliament.
New Zealand’s first parliamentary elections were held in 1853 – but only men who owned individual freehold land could vote.
This rule excluded most Māori, as Māori usually held land in common instead of individually. In 1853 only about 100 Māori were enrolled to vote – mostly tribal leaders.
New Zealand’s first general election
Māori electorates first established
Early Māori participation
Push for more Māori seats
Māori electorates made permanent
New Zealand Suffrage - Women get to vote
The first Māori to win a general seat in Parliament
The first Māori woman elected to Parliament
The first Māori Electoral Option
MMP and the Māori electorates
The Māori Electoral Option is held once more
History of Māori electorates
The interactive map below shows how the Māori electorates have changed in shape, name and number since their formation in 1867. Note that only major changes are shown. Minor boundary changes also occurred between the dates in this series.