Who is political heckler Karl Mokaraka? Vision NZ candidate explains his motive

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National leader Christopher Luxon press conference in Pakuranga interrupted by Karl Mokaraka, Freedoms New Zealand candidate. Photo / Dean Purcell

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Serial political heckler Karl Mokaraka says he is speaking for whānau who have no voice when he confronts political leaders – disrupting press conferences and campaign launches before he is asked to leave.

Karl Mokaraka is a Vision NZ Candidate standing in the Panmure-Ōtāhuhu electorate for Freedoms NZ.

The 46-year-old father of four has so far heckled Labour leader Chris Hipkins at a stand-up press conference in South Auckland, National leader Chris Luxon at another press conference in Pakuranga and David Seymour at the Act Party campaign launch at the Civic in Auckland on the weekend.

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Karl Mokaraka, of Vision NZ, disrupted Act's campaign launch in Auckland. Photo / Adam Pearse
Karl Mokaraka, of Vision NZ, disrupted Act’s campaign launch in Auckland. Photo / Adam Pearse

“I do a lot of mahi with families in the grassroots – particularly our Māori and Pasifika families in South Auckland – and I get to touch and feel what’s happening at the coal face,” Mokaraka said.

“I do not normally heckle people but I do it because I want the politicians to know what whānau who can’t speak for themselves are feeling and going through.

“I do it because I am brave enough and have the courage to stand and speak. It’s probably been hibernating in me and it just comes out.”

Makoraka said he believed there was a huge disconnect between what politicians think is happening and the struggles whānau face every day.

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“Politicians come out every few years when they want your vote.

“The rest of the time they stay locked away from the people.”

Mokaraka, raised by a single mum in Ōtara, said it was not only Pākehā politicians he plans to heckle during the political campaign.

Karl Mokaraka at the markets heckling Chris Hipkins.
Karl Mokaraka at the markets heckling Chris Hipkins.

“We had the largest number of Māori MPs in government, yet the whānau on the ground do not see the trickle down of funds that the MPs say they have got for their communities,” he said.

“I was told David Lange would be seen all the time at the Ōtara markets and even Robert Muldoon was approachable. Muldoon would let people speak before closing them down with his rhetoric.

“Whether our whānau loved or loathed Lange and Muldoon, they were always approachable. What’s happening now is there’s a disconnect between the public and politicians at the moment.”

Mokaraka said his only goal in heckling politicians is to put questions to leaders about the tough times that whānau are facing.

Joseph Los’e joined NZME in 2022 as Kaupapa Māori Editor. Los’e was a chief reporter, news director at the Sunday News newspaper covering crime, justice and sport. He was also editor of the NZ Truth and prior to joining NZME worked for 12 years for Te Whānau o Waipareira.

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