Two new Dames and eight new Knights are among the many people who have been awarded New Year Honours.
Former Minister and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is one of the new Dames and a worthy recipient of the honour.
She is a woman of principle who understood the importance of being in government to make a difference rather than just being in parliament to make a fuss.
In her valedictory speech she said:
. . . It is the first time in our history and of the world that an indigenous political party has been truly part of government in a coalition arrangement. It has been exciting, liberating, invigorating, inspiring, and occasionally challenging as well.
We have had a very respectful, honest and upfront relationship with John Key and Bill English – a relationship that has allowed both of us to be direct, acknowledging our different constituencies and agreeing to disagree.
It is been a relationship based on mutual co-operation. We are pleased with what we have achieved, we are also proud of what we managed to change or stop.
I have been driven by a passion, determination, desire and as Bill English would say a stubborn resolve to make a difference. I always wanted us to be in a relationship where what we say matters. To be able to make a difference, not just a noise. To be part of the solution, not limited to picking the problems apart.
While we were unable to achieve all the aspirations of our people, I know we have made a difference in the lives of whānau whatever their circumstances, and in that respect I leave with a feeling of peace that we have always tried to do our best, to do whatever it takes to fly. . .
(You can watch her speech on YouTube).
Another former MP to be honoured is Eric Roy who has been awarded a QSO.
This recognises not only his work as an MP over nearly 20 years but all he has done, and will continue to do for the community and New Zealand.
I’ve known Eric for more than 30 years. His community service includes Volunteer Service Abroad, Young Farmers (of which he was both National and World president and is still a patron), school and sports bodies, the church, Rotary and cancer support.
The latter not only includes fundraising and other public activity but a lot of private work, using his experience as a survivor of cancer to help others who are fighting it.
. . . It’s something that the family can celebrate.
”And that’s why I was very happy to accept it, noting that it’s not just me who’s made the contribution, it’s been the family.” . . .
This is often the case with community service and especially with politics.