Willie Jackson, the former trade union organiser, sports talk back host, bouncer, record company executive, Alliance MP and leader of the first Maori Party in Parliament Mana Motuhake, is now a firm fixture on the New Zealand broadcasting scene. He was the host of TVNZ's current affairs show Eye to Eye for 6 years and is a political and social commentator currently working on TVNZ's Good Morning Show.
Willie is the chairman of the 21 Maori Radio Station network Te Whakaruruhau, the chairman of the National Urban Maori Authority and the chief executive of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority. His Uncle Syd Jackson founded Nga Tamatoa, the first Maori radical activist group, and Willie grew up with an expectation that he would play a significant role in advancing the cause of Maori.
It is Willie's big heart, broadcasting ability and love of rugby that has taken him to the centre of New Zealand's cultural and political life.
John Tamihere served as a Cabinet minister in the Labour Government from 2002 to 2004. He was born in Auckland as the 10th of 12 children to a Maori father of Ngati Porou, Whakatohea and Tainui descent and an Irish mother. He gained an arts and law degree from Auckland University and in 1991 became chief executive of the Waipareira trust, which provided health and education services to Maori in the Auckland region. He also served as Chairman of the NZ Maori Rugby League Board. Even before he entered politics, Tamihere had a high profile, having been selected as Person of the Year by the Sunday Star Times, New Zealander of the Year by North and South magazine, and Man of the Year by Metro magazine.
Immediately upon entering Parliament he became Chairman of the Maori Affairs Select Committee and served on the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. After the 2002 election he was appointed to Cabinet and served as Minister of Statistics, Land Information, Youth Affairs and Small Business.
After a break, JT is back as Chief executive of the Waipareira Trust. He also appears on television regularly and provides political and business advice.