Hailing from Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāruahine and Ngā Rauru, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is kaiarataki of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui and a former Deputy Mayor of South Taranaki District Council. She has been selected to win back Te Tai Hauāuru for the Māori Party in 2020 and has recently been appointed as the party’s Co-leader.
Debbie is a grassroots activist and environmental campaigner, and she also has more than two decades experience in governance, executive management and iwi leadership. She is best known in recent years for mobilising her iwi and local community in the campaign against seabed mining off the South Taranaki Coast.
As kaiarataki of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui, Debbie has developed free health care services, tackled digital equity head on, developed leadership opportunities for rangatahi, and has been an outspoken voice for South Taranaki on the national stage.
Debbie is currently a director of Tui Ora Health Ltd, Homecare Medical Ltd, and a member of the Indigenous Women’s Business Network. Her former roles include CEO of Te Reo Irirangi o Taranaki, executive member of Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori and member of the Māori Economic Development Advisory Board.
“I have demonstrated throughout my career that I can deliver real change. Our people have the solutions to our own problems. We need Māori MPs who will fight for our solutions, every moment of every day – and that’s exactly what I will do. As a mother and grandmother, I am unwavering in my resolve to fight for a strong future for all our mokopuna to thrive.” - Debbie Ngarewa-Packer