Claudette Hauiti delivered her maiden speech this evening:
Ko whetumataurau me rakaumangamanga ngā maunga
Ko Karakatuwhero to awa me tangaroa te moana
Ko Tutua me Rāwhiti ngā marae
Ko Ngāti Ruataupare me Ngāti Kuta ngā hapū
Ko Ngāti Porou me Ngā Puni ngā Iwi
Ehara taku toa, he taki tahi, he toa taki tini
I come not alone but accompanied by the many of those that have passed, those that are yet to breathe life on this earth, and those that are here with me today by thought and by presence.
I acknowledge my whānau and friends who have travelled to Poneke to be with me today. Ki aku whānau me ngā hoa tēnā rā koutou katoa.
This afternoon I rise before the House full of gratitude to the Prime Minister Rt Honourable John Key, the National Party Board and president Peter Goodfellow and past presidents Michelle Boag and John Slater, without whose support I would not be here today.
I come to the House with all that I have: My whānau. My Iwi. My People. My Life’s Experiences.
I am Ngāti Porou Ngā Puhi by birth and by blood. I am explicitly Māori, unequivocally a New Zealander.
I would like to acknowledge my whanaunga and colleagues the Honourable Tau Henare, the Honourable Hekia Parata, as well as the Honourable Tariana Turia and the Honourable Pita Sharples, the co-leader of the Green Party Metiria Turei. And to my Māori colleagues across the parties. Tēnā Koutou Katoa.
I come to this House in all humility as a descendent of Te Aitanga a Hauiti. And although one of our most revered rangatira has passed from this world, it is with the greatest of honour and humbleness that I can continue to carry the tribe’s name, and so I acknowledge the Honourable Parekura Horomia – e te rangatira haere haere haere atu rā.
My views have been shaped by the many people who have touched my life. My mother Josephine Lucus and father Jerry Teretiu Hauiti left their rural roots of Moerewa and Te Araroa for a better life.
In the late 1950s they migrated to Auckland along with 25,000 other Māori chasing their dreams of getting a job, buying a house, and seeing their children get the best education possible.
My parents lived in Māori boarding houses in Parnell, Ponsonby, and then in Harding Street in Auckland city. Friday and Saturday nights they ballroom-danced at the Orange Hall and Māori Community Centre and on Sunday’s got politicised at Tatai Hono Anglican Church on Kyber Pass Road. On weekdays my parents worked at lolly factories as machinists, on the wharf, at the freezing works, on the roads, and on the railways.
The more Māori migrated to cities from 1950 to 1970 the more they experienced socio-cultural upheaval. Many experienced a loss of language, a disconnection from papakainga, and a connection instead to alcohol and drugs. Some substituted traditional whānau for life with patched gangs.
Sadly we are still experiencing the fallout of that 20-year period where manual mahi went from boom to bust and inter-generational unemployment has taken hold. At the same time the seams of our social fabric was unravelling. Today too many of our babies are dying and too many of our wahine are being bashed and our tāne are in jail.
But for the grace of God… My Father turned his sights to education where he reinforced in us, his children, lay the answers to many of life’s challenges. A solid education would give you options; good results would get you opportunities; an education would allow you independence, freedom to choose, and the ability to make wiser choices.
Options, opportunities, independence underpinned by perseverance, determination, personal responsibility; these are the attitudes I have inherited.
Mr Speaker, there is a whakatauki: Whaia te iti kahuranga ki te tuahu koe me he maunga teitei. Strive for the highest peak … and if you must bow let it be to the loftiest mountain.
To me this means having a dream and following it. Backing yourself as a winner.
As a business owner working in the commercially aggressive television broadcast industry it demanded innovation, strategic acuity, and ingenuity. I am proud to say that my company was part of the $20 billion Māori contribution to New Zealand’s GDP. In fact, small to medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the New Zealand economy. Small companies like the very successful start-up operation Kapu Ti Productions, run by Brent Iremonger and Michelle Lee, is an example of great product – simple, smart, durable. Brent, Michelle and Kapu Ti Productions is Kiwi know-how can do at work.
Mr Speaker, I come to Parliament rich in knowledge and wealthy in experiences working for, living with, learning from, and loving a diverse range of people.
With gratitude I acknowledge my colleague Louisa Wall Labour MP for Manurewa for introducing the Marriage Equality Bill to the House. Ki a koe e te Tuahine Tēnā koe. And to all those who voted in favour, I thank you.
The fundamental principle of equality is one law for all.
To the takataapui community – my friends, my queer family Rangitunoa Black and Mihirawhiti Schranke who taught me that the strength in being takataapui is in the knowing you are Māori. Michael Gullery who’s gentle nurturing of minds reinforcing our valued place in Aotearoa New Zealand and worthy of great celebration, you are my mentors.
I would like to take this moment to remember some of our whānau who have departed this world. Rangi Chadwick, Bossie Mana, Jason Rameka – loyal and trusted friends, all talented young men steeped in te reo me ngā tikanga. And Kuini Mihaere, a gifted and generous artist. Thanks to the takataapui community I bring to this House and my Government – strength of courage to overcome adversity, tolerance in the face of rejection, acceptance where there is love, and an ability to recognise diversity as being the fabric that makes up this young nation.
If we are to go forward as a nation united in our diversity then we do so with purpose and with passion. We may not agree with one another’s policies, processes, procedures. We are not a homogenous people but I respect the right for anyone to voice their opinion and I welcome the opportunity for robust debate.
The ability to challenge with vigour, with passion, and with authenticity all the while preserving the integrity of your opposition is what I learnt from my dear friend and colleague Willie Jackson – shrewd, witty, astute. I count myself fortunate to have worked with one of the sharpest political commentators in New Zealand.
My broadcasting career was launched through the generosity of Dame June Jackson, Willie’s mum. If not for her funding my very first television programme for TV3, my career may very well have floundered for several more years. In fact, Dame June Jackson assisted in the rehabilitation of some of the country’s most notorious criminals. She did it because she felt compelled, she did it because no one else would, she did it because they were whānau.
Strong whānau breeds strong communities and for me my Ngā Puhi cousins have given to me unconditionally love…my Nathan, Haunui and Komene cousins who showed me the beauty of eeling….the joy in creek swimming and the thrill of rat shooting at the Moerewa tip….to my Ngāti Porou girl cousins Jodi Ihaka, Erana Reedy, Nerina Howe and Kath Ākuhata-Brown for your grown up advise in business and on how to craft great stories, I thank you.
When asked why am I here, I think of my sisters Rosina, Loraine and brother Michael who’s honesty, hard work and integrity inspires me to contribute positively to growing this nation.
When asked why I am here, I think of my mother, my father, and my stepfather Pita Morunga – a generation of Māori who came to town for a better life, so that we children could prosper. I do not want their sacrifices to count for nothing.
When asked what do I have to offer, I say I can offer a strong sense of loyalty to my Prime Minister, my colleagues, and my Government.
When asked what do I wish to achieve, I say I wish to continue the legacy left by my father to work hard to build a strong economic future where business innovation thrives and ingenuity is celebrated and encouraged.
When asked what do I wish to achieve, I say I wish to continue building tolerance and compassion and to celebrate diversity as an integral part of this nation.
To my beautiful wife Nadine for 25 years you have given me I thank you for your unconditional love. Kiamana your perseverance is an inspiration to me while Te Ua your individuality is something to be cherished. And to our darling Little Manawa, you are the centre of our universe.
Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi
Tēnā Koutou Tēnā Koutou Tēnā Koutou Katoa.
You can see and hear her deliver the speech at Parliament Today.