The Waiariki electorate's eastern border extends south west from Cape Runaway to Turangi and the Kaimanawa Mountains. The western boundary then tracks north - skirting the western edge of Lake Taupō and the area west of Rotorua - before terminating at the Bay of Plenty coast at Waihi Beach. This electorate comprises the two main confederations of iwi in the Bay of Plenty-Central North Island area, the Te Arawa and Mataatua waka. There were no changes to the existing boundaries in 2007.
This electorate's population increased six percent between 2001 and 2006, compared to an eight percent increase for the whole of New Zealand. Median family income among the Māori descent population in 2006 was $45,200 - below the New Zealand median of $59,000. The proportion of Māori households that had access to the internet in 2006 was 44.9%, almost double the share that had access in 2001 (23.9%). Of those employed in 2006, 8.4% worked in the education and training industry - the highest share among Māori electorates, and higher than the New Zealand average (7.2%).
The winning candidate in the 2005 election, Te Ururoa Flavell (Māori Party), captured a majority (54.58%) of the 19,039 valid electorate votes cast for candidates in the Waiariki electorate. The seat was previously held in 2002 by Mita Ririnui (Labour Party) with a margin of 6,717. The Labour Party captured a majority (53.11%) of the party votes in Waiariki, about the same as its party vote share in 2002. Turnout (total votes cast as a proportion of enrolled electors) in 2005 was 69.43%.