Enrol and Vote as a New Zealand Māori - English

As a New Zealand Māori, or a descendant of a New Zealand Māori, you have the choice of enrolling on the Māori electoral roll or the General electoral roll.

If you’re on the General electoral roll, you will vote for an MP in a General electorate at the next General Election.

If you’re on the Māori electoral roll, you will vote for an MP in a Māori electorate at the next General Election.

The type of electoral roll you are on makes no difference to who you can vote for with your Party Vote. Every voter, regardless of which electoral roll they are on or where they live in the country, has the same list of political parties to choose from when using their Party Vote.

The electoral roll type you choose may have an impact on your vote in a local authority or council election if your local authority has created Māori Wards or Constituencies under the Local Electoral Act 2001.

If you choose to go on the Māori Roll and your local authority decides to create a Māori Ward or Constituency, you would have to vote for the candidate in the Māori Ward.

How do I enrol?

Getting on the roll is easy! You can get on the roll now, or get a form sent to you by Free texting your name and address to 3676 or calling 0800 36 76 56.You can also pick up a form at your local PostShop. The form will ask you for information about yourself. Find out what the form will ask and why.

When you have enrolled, your name will go on the electoral roll, which is the list of people who have enrolled and are allowed to vote.

If you are Māori, you get to choose whether you want to be on the Māori or the General Roll.

If you are concerned about your safety if your name goes on the Electoral Roll, you can ask to go on the Unpublished Roll. Find out more about the Unpublished Roll.

If you need help to fill in your form, because of language or disability issues, you can ask someone else to help you, or you can contact your local Registrar of Electors.

I am Māori. Do I have to go on the Māori Roll?

No. If you are enrolling as an elector for the first time then you can decide whether you want to be on a General or a Māori roll by signing the appropriate panel on the enrolment form.

Once you have registered for the first time, you can change roll types only during the five-yearly Māori Electoral Option. Find out more about the Option.

I am a Cook Island Māori or a Pacific Islands Polynesian. Can I be on the Māori roll?

No.  It is only for New Zealand Māori and descendants of New Zealand Māori.  Cook Islands Māori and other Pacific Islanders who are qualified to enrol must go on the General roll.

Why do we have a Māori roll?

Four Māori seats were established by the 1867 New Zealand Parliament to give Māori a direct say in Parliament. In 1975 the government introduced the Māori Electoral Option to be held alongside (or following) each census. This allowed electors of Māori descent to choose whether they enrolled in general or Māori seats.

The Māori seats were retained under the MMP voting system introduced in the 1990s. Their number was allowed to increase or decrease according to the results of the regular Māori electoral option.

A special Option was run following the 1993 referendum that saw MMP introduced as New Zealand’s preferred electoral system. This Option saw more Māori registering on the Māori Roll and resulted in the number of Māori electorates rising from four, under the previous system, to five. Subsequent Māori Electoral Options have seen the number of Māori electorates increase to seven.

Before the first MMP election in 1996 the number of Māori seats was increased, for the first time in their 129-year history, to five. In 2002 there were seven.

Today, there are different kinds of MPs:

  • Electorate MPs - you vote for these based on where you live and the roll type you are on (General or Māori). Voters enrolled on the General roll, including Māori registered on the General roll, elect MPs representing General electorates.  Voters enrolled on the Māori roll elect MPs representing Māori electorates.
  • List or Party MPs - everyone enrolled votes for these MPs using their party vote. The type of roll you are on makes no difference to who you can vote for with your party vote.

Click here for more information about the history of Māori and voting.

Click here for more information about enrolling and voting in Te Reo Maori.

Last updated: 29 November 2017