Parekura Horomia 1950 – 2013

Parekura Horomia, MP and Maori Affairs spokesman and former Minister, has died.

In his maiden speech he said:

– I’ve been a fencer, shearer, scrub cutter and printer.
– I’ve also worked in the upper levels of bureaucracy in management roles.

As a Maori Member of Parliament I have a dual responsibility.
– I have a responsibility to my people and the wider public.

– Unfortunately, if we look at the statistics for the people I represent the picture is bleak. We feature disproportionately in negative statistics. . .

. . . – The future for Maori is about acknowledging who we are and determining where we want to go. . . 

– Not every Maori will reap the same success as Michael Campbell but we should be encouraging them all to swing that high.

– We have to set an example for the younger generation and I accept that challenge as a new Maori Member of Parliament.

– Let me take you back a few years to the time when I was a schoolboy. I vividly recall walking to school barefoot with my seven brothers and sisters.

– Everyday, whatever the weather, we walked five kilometres to school and back.

– While this may not have been unusual for Maori children, there was a certain irony about this journey.

– Everyday we would watch the empty school bus drive past us and other whanau to collect the pakeha kids that lived a half a kilometre from our school. This bus would pick them up, turn around, drive back past us and take those kids to the school in Tologa Bay.

– As a child the bureaucrats who made those decisions mattered little. All I knew is that I had to walk and the bus was leaving me and the rest of my whanaunga behind.

– I used to dream of being picked up by that school bus. But as I grew older we became more resilient. We went from wishing it would stop to pick us up …to thinking that if it did stop we wouldn’t hop on anyway.

– I relate that story now because Maori are often told we’ve missed the bus. And many cases Maori have not even had the opportunity to get on the bus.

– The irony in all of this is that I’m now the Associate Minister of Education, responsible for school transport!

– So now I’m not only riding the bus, I’m helping to drive the bus with my colleagues, Mr Samuels, Mr Mallard and Mr Maharey.

– As one of the drivers you can be damn sure I’m going to stop the bus and pick up as many Maori as possible. . .

He held the seat of Ikaroa-Rawhiti since first winning it in 1999. His death will force a by-election.


One Response to Parekura Horomia 1950 – 2013

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    This is a lovely post to remember Parekura by, Ele. You have chosen some great quotes, especially that last one.


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