Pita is currently the Minister of Maori Affairs. He is the Associate Minister of Corrections and the Associate Minister of Education.
Pita Sharples, of Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngai Te Kikiri o te Rangi and Ngāti Pahauwera grew up in the small country town of Takapau in Hawkes Bay.
He went to secondary school at Waipukurau District High School and then on to Te Aute Māori Boys College, where he developed his skills in kapa haka and rugby and a passion for Māori language and culture. He went on to establish the New Zealand National School of Maori Weaponry, where he became Tumu Whakarae (Sacerdotal Head and Master). He founded Te Roopu Manutaki Maori Cultural Group, twice winners of the biannual Te Matatini, while he himself won Kaitātaki Tāne (best Male Leader) a record 5 times.
He studied at Auckland University and trained as a teacher. In 1977 he was awarded a PhD from Auckland University in Anthropology and Linguistics. In 1982 he was appointed inaugural Chairman of the Ngati Kahungunu Tribal Runanga which he chaired for eight years.
For eight years he headed the Office of the Race Relations Conciliator, and then became Director of Culture at the Department of Māori Affairs. He has also been a Professor of Education at Auckland University and an Adjunct Professor at Unitec.
Living in West Auckland, he led the establishment of Hoani Waititi Marae throughout the 1970s (one of the first urban marae), and has been actively involved there ever since, including as chairman for 35 years. He also led the establishment of the first Kura Kaupapa Maori in New Zealand, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Hoani Waititi. He also created the first "Wharekura" kaupapa Māori extending Kura into Secondary School Education.
Dr Sharples has belonged to numerous Māori community and education organisations, and has been a consultant to many government agencies and professional boards. He remains Co-Chairperson of the Waitakere City Taskforce against Domestic Violence and is an Ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign.
In 2004 he became Co-leader of the Māori Party, and was elected as MP for Tamaki Makaurau in 2005, 2008 and 2011. He is currently Minister of Māori Affairs and Associate Minister of Education and Corrections.
Dr Sharples is married to Arapera Wikitoria Hineamaru Sharples, they have 5 children and 10 mokopuna (grandchildren) and currently living in West Auckland.
Maori Party spokesperson for: Education (excluding Tertiary) Treaty of Waitangi (negotiations) Tourism Conservation Sport and recreation
Tariana is currently the Minister for Whanau Ora. She is also the Minister of Disability Issues, Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Housing, Associate Minister of Social Development, as well as the Associate Minister of Tertiary Education Skills and Employment.
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