Maori Party opts for youthful refresh after disastrous election campaign

The Maori Party is hoping a youthful refresh to its top tier can turn the party's flagging fortunes around.

The party has taken a page out of Labour and National’s playbook. Source: 1 NEWS

Kaapua Smith, 35, and Che Wilson, 42, were both recently elected vice president and president respectively.

In rangatahi, or generational terms, they're of an age with both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and new National leader Simon Bridges.

Ms Smith told 1 NEWS the job to return the party to parliament keeps her awake at night.

"I was one of those people who actually cried the day after the election, so sad."

Both of the official's say the party very clearly lost its connection to their constituents – both Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox losing their seats sending the party barrelling out of parliament.

"Our people have told us that we didn't listen and so we need to go out, we need to connect with our people, we need to listen, we need to reflect and from that evolve," Mr Wilson said.

Both are politically connected.

Mr Wilson has strong links to the Ratana Church and to the Kingitanga and he's also negotiated a settlement for his iwi, Ngati Rangi.

His colleague is equally as connected and in her twenties worked for both Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples.

Political scientist Maria Bargh said both were good choices, providing continuity in terms of the strong iwi connection the party's had with the nation's tribes.

And there are opportunities for the pair, Ms Bargh said.

"In terms of the Labour Party we're yet to see if they'll deliver on all their promises early indications are TPPA for example where there weren't any strengthening for the treaty of Waitangi provision then that may go in the Maori Party's favour as well."