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Māori Party candidate hoping to bring back tomo, a type of arranged marriage

A Māori mum of four is wanting to bring back the once common cultural practice of tomo; a type of arranged marriage. 

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The mum of triplets is starting by pushing the practice of tomo, a type of arranged marriage designed to build strong, principled whanau. Source: 1 NEWS

Mariameno Kapa-Kingi is bringing her loving whānau along on her bid to be the next MP of Te Tai Tokerau. 

"Hemi Kapa-Kingi, Tipene Kapa-Kingi and Eru Kapa-Kingi are our triplet boys, they're 24 years old."

She lives and breathes Te Ao Māori values and she's hoping that will appeal to her voters with one practice that's a central part of her whāna, tomo.

It's a type of arranged marriage that her children were told early on they will be expected to follow. 

"I do remember it actually. I do remember being very quick to shut it off," her son Eru said. 

Tomo was once a common practice amongst rangatira, helping to strengthing ties between people. 

"You can say the tomo are political arrangements and it's to bring people together. The best alliances of course is when you have inter-marriage and when you have mokopuna," cultural commentator Pierre Lyndon said. 

For Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere, Ms Kapa-Kingi is helping to reignite a forgotten part of Māori heritage. 

"Well here's the thing, my father was the product of a tomo between Ngāti Porou and Whakatōhea matataua. So our linkage was bespoken in my father's generation," he said. 

"It fell into disarray when Māori things were put down and suppressed but she's rekindling our faith in ourselves so it's not just other cultures and religon that have tomo. Māori can go back to that way as well." 

It's a tikanga that has been modernised and Ms Kapa-Kingi says making tomo commonplace again is political. 

"This is Māori science applied. That's what I'm doing. That's what I am ready to apply, the science in the most 1840 way that will never go away." 

Eru has joined the Māori list, just to support his mum.