Chairman of Kāinga Ora & Former Labour Cabinet Minister
The first person of Pacific Island descent elected to Cabinet, Mark was a full-time official with the Service & Food Workers Union for 15 years. He was later a union secretary with the SFWU for 7 years, leading him to join the Labour Party in 1981. He was first elected to Parliament as a list MP in the 1996 election. He was later MP for the Auckland seat of Maungakiekie following the 1999 election. He held a number of Cabinet posts, including Minister of Corrections, Minister of Housing, Minister of Transport, and Minister of Pacific Island Affairs. He retired from politics in 2008 to spend more time with his family.
In 2009, Mark was nominated as a director on the New Zealand Rugby League board. In 2011, he was elected the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation. He is the Chief Executive of Vaka Tautua, a not-for-profit ‘for Pacific by Pacific’ community health and social service provider, a role he took up in July 2014 after five years on the governance board. He is the chairman of Kāinga Ora, which provides rental housing for New Zealanders in need.
Mark was born to German-Samoan parents and was raised and educated in South Auckland. He has four children with his wife, Carol.