Hamish Walker’s maiden speech

November 15, 2017

Hamish Walker, Clutha Southland MP delivered his maiden speech yesterday.

Mr Speaker, it is the greatest privilege to be standing before you today as a Member of Parliament, elected by the people of Clutha-Southland, to represent their views, hopes and dreams for their region and for New Zealand.

People in Clutha-Southland are pioneering, hard-working and community-focused.

The rest of New Zealand can learn a lot from Clutha-Southlanders.

It’s a place where people still look out for each other, people still know each other, and most importantly people still talk to each other whether it be across the fence or in the supermarket aisle.

It’s where I regularly see carefree kids riding their bikes around their neighbourhood, and where local people still rally together to support a good cause.

I intend to be a strong voice in Parliament for Clutha-Southland.

I believe in the core National Party values of strong families, caring communities, personal responsibility, individual freedom and choice.

These values form the basis of my own philosophy.

I was motivated to stand for Parliament by a desire to uphold these values.

I believe the government’s role is to get out of the way and let our people get ahead, and be rewarded for effort.

My experience in life has shown me that it is attitude and hard work that is the key to succeeding.

The Clutha-Southland electorate and previous forms has an extremely proud history of leadership and contribution to New Zealand over the years.

It has included:

The Honourable Adam Hamilton
The Right Honourable Peter Gordon
Sir Brian Talboys
Sir Robin Gray
and of course our Leader and former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Bill English
I want to take this opportunity to thank Bill for his leadership, and to congratulate him on the policy development that he has led throughout his years in Parliament.

His social investment approach to complex social problems and its long term dividends for New Zealand makes him the most gutsy politician of his generation.

I’d also like to acknowledge current Mayors in my region – Jim Boult, Bryan Cadogan, Tracy Hicks, and Gary Tong.

These individuals stitch together the fabric of our Clutha-Southland communities and provide excellent leadership.

I look forward to working with them to progress the interests of our people.

Clutha-Southland doesn’t just produce some great people.

It is one of the most productive regions in New Zealand.

It is the largest general electorate in the country, it runs from just south of Dunedin to the north of Invercargill, and spans from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea.

I have learned that many people in Clutha-Southland are not afraid to call a spade a spade.

You cannot pull the wool over the eyes of a Clutha-Southlander, even if it was grown and shorn there.

It is an honour to represent an area that is part of my heritage and identity.

I am proud of my established family history in Clutha-Southland.

My great, great, great grandfather, John Barr, was a Balclutha businessman who leased the Government ferry across the Clutha river, and built the first store and bakery in the township.

Today, I have family members throughout Clutha-Southland.

My late grandfather, Ronald Walker, often spoke of how it is ultimately up to the individual to determine the path they take in life.

The seeds of working hard and taking personal responsibility for oneself were sown early in my childhood by my grandfather.

He helped put hundreds of Southlanders through university running the Otago University extension program for a number of years and also helped establish the Young Nats in Southland in the 1940s.

And I better not forget to say hello to my nana Ngaire who is watching from Invercargill today.

My urban-raised father Alan, and rural-raised mother Barbara taught me that everyone deserved a chance, and that we all should contribute back to our community.

I’d like to thank my father, who continues to dedicate his life to helping others.

Thank you, Dad.

I’d also like to thank my mother who has sacrificed so much to raise me and my siblings.

Thank you for all that you do Mum.

If you were a taxi driver, you would be a millionaire by now given the fetching and carrying that you have done over the years.

I’m sure you would have done almost as many kilometres in your car 20 years ago as the Clutha-Southland MP at the time.

I respect my urban heritage.

This will hold me accountable to the needs and concerns of the urban areas within the electorate.

Encouraging growth in small towns and responding to the challenges of growth in larger towns will be one of many issues that I face.

I also have an obligation to my rural heritage which will hold me accountable to the needs and concerns of the farming communities within the electorate.

I have many fond memories working on my grandparents farm during my teenage years

Coming from a family with four siblings, I learned early to listen to those around me and to respect their views.

I also learned that working with others achieves more than working independently, a lesson that I have put into practice throughout my life.

I was born and raised in Dunedin and attended Māori Hill Primary School and John McGlashan College.

Like many young people, I wasn’t too interested in learning.

To complicate things, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 14.

Going from leading a normal life to half a dozen injections a day was tough.

I eventually left school early and got a job.

I understand first-hand that some people may not achieve on a typical educational timeline, but they still can succeed in education and contribute to their community.

My early education and health experiences have made me passionate about these areas, especially in regard to our youth.

I didn’t experience typical school success for many reasons.

Perhaps an alternative learning environment may have suited my learning style.

That’s why charter schools are vitally important, and yet another achievement of our previous National-led government.

I was the kid who some might argue, ‘slipped through the cracks’.

But I still managed to experience success, and I want to help ensure youth have meaningful education options with relevance to the real world.

My first role after leaving school was as a commercial fisherman.

I look back on my time as a fisherman with pride.

It was my first real experience of what hard work is all about.

Long hours on the boat were challenging.

I also learned the importance of the primary sector to New Zealand.

It’s important we give these producers every possible chance of success.

In addition to my fishing days, I have worked as a voluntary community patrol member, and later as a Police jailor.

I always had a desire to become a Police Officer, but was unable to apply to Police College because of my diabetes.

This was a huge disappointment for me, but it taught me that when one door closes, another opens and you need to be willing to move on and learn from life’s lessons.

After a few other jobs I decided to study for a degree in accounting.

Instead of incurring a significant amount of debt by taking out a student loan, I decided to work in the mines of Western Australia to save some money.

Six months of hard work allowed me to save enough to pay the fees.

It was during this time I also took up refereeing rugby.

A few years later I made my first class debut which is achieved by less than one per cent of rugby referees.

Rugby refereeing is a lot like life.

To learn, you need to listen.

To succeed, you need to simplify your processes and focus on just one or two key issues that have the greatest effect.

In business, you also need to focus on the one or two things that matter.

Rugby refereeing was the perfect training ground for politics.

Graduating with an accounting degree was also a huge confidence builder for me.

I had come a long way from dropping out of school.

Looking back, I know I wouldn’t have gained the skills I have now if I had gone straight to university from school.

I needed those years to mature.

Since then I have set up, franchised and sold my own business, worked at a big 4 accounting firm and have been a business adviser to others and served on the Boards of the Otago Rugby Union and the local Lotteries Distribution Committee.

As someone who has benefited from our public health system, I am a firm believer in primary care being easily accessible, close to where people live.

Travel times can impact on primary care in rural areas.

Failure to gain early treatment or intervention from primary care providers can add huge costs for the New Zealand taxpayer.

I will fight hard to maintain services in the electorate, and fight for fair funding of rural health.

I first joined the National Party several years ago after advice from John Key to stand in a red seat, cut my teeth and learn.

I have always been inspired by others to do something significant, to make a difference – because life is short.

I was fortunate to have known Jonathan Keogh, who was tragically killed by a repeat drunk driver.

Jono’s legacy inspires me to make a difference and his name will never be forgotten.

I commend Jono’s sister Megan MacPherson and his family for directly helping to change drink-driving laws.

I, like many others, miss Jono and he is often in my thoughts.

There are multiple challenges ahead.

Right now in Clutha-Southland, we should not be cutting off the hands that literally feed us, from farmers in Gore, to hospitality workers in Queenstown.

The government must ensure immigration settings allow business owners in Queenstown and primary producers across Otago and Southland to have the workforce to process goods.

Clutha-Southland has around two per cent of the population and produces over 15 per cent of the country’s GDP.

We need to keep our workers to produce the goods from the region, and to keep the people flowing through our small towns like Lumsden, Lawrence, and Nightcaps.

Our immigrant workforce contributes to our diversity and keeps our towns afloat.

I recently visited a rest home in Tapanui, and asked a 96-year-old gentlemen and Returned Serviceman for advice.

He told me to continue to learn.

Learning indeed is for life, and is life-long.

My biggest hope is to make Clutha-Southland proud of the contributions I can make to our country.

I hope that by taking this gentleman’s advice, I can achieve this.

I promise to listen to my constituents, and I thank them for the advice they have given me to date.

There are many people I’d like to pay tribute to for being in my life, and although I cannot name them all, you know who you are.

I want to thank the people who have enabled me to stand here before you today.

To the more than 1000 Clutha-Southland National Party members, thank you for placing trust and confidence in me.

To Bridgette Smith, Margo Hishon, Rachel Bird, Tim Shiels, Richard Soper and the rest of the executive and campaign team, your dedication to the party is energizing and the sheer distances you have to drive for meetings is remarkable. The electorate is in safe hands in your care.

To Mark Patterson, great to see you here as a List MP.

To Kate Hazlett, Andrew Hunt, Roger Bridge, Alastair Bell, president Peter Goodfellow and the rest of the regional executive and National Party board, thank you for your hard work.

To the Young Nats for the weekend campaigning in Queenstown, you all rock. I learnt a good lesson… not to start days that involve the Young Nats in Queenstown before 11am.

Grant McCullum for the phone calls offering advice, thank you.

Michelle Boag, your wise words are really appreciated.

Eric Roy, thank you for the good solid advice in a Southland way.

National’s strong result is a tribute to you all.

To the ladies who run my offices …. And life…. Rebecca, Paula and Alison thank you for keeping me going.

Sarah Dowie, Mike Woodhouse and Jacqui Dean, Team Southern let’s go!

To Donna & David, thank you for being here today.

Penny, you’re an inspiration to me and words cannot express how much your support for me throughout the selection process, campaign and since being elected has meant. I wouldn’t be able to do this without your support.

I admire the contribution you make to society in your role as a clinical psychologist and yes, you often remind me you did beat me to Parliament as you were Eric Roy’s Youth MP.

Mr Speaker, the privilege of serving in this Parliament is one that comes to very few.

I didn’t come here to eat my lunch, nor to “be” a Member of Parliament.

I came here to DO things as a Member of Parliament, to help make change that benefits all New Zealanders, and to help to enhance the lives of the people of Clutha Southland.

I will probably make mistakes in this House – I have made many already in my short life – but my respect for the Institution, my loyalty and my commitment are solid; my philosophy is honest and true, and my compassion is infinite.

I hope that everything I do in this Parliament, and in my time as a Member of this Parliament, is a tribute to those who have gone before me, those who have helped me and to those whom I love, and who love me.

Thank you Mr Speaker.

Jo Hayes’ maiden speech

January 30, 2014

I was in parliament for Jo Hayes’ maiden speech yesterday.

It was a very moving occasion, topped off by her family singing a waiata when she finished.

Kei āku nui, kei āku rahi, kei āku whakateitei ki te whenua, āku tamarahi ki te rangi.  Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

I rere mai i nga pā tūwatawata ō tōku Matua Paikea Ariki Apanui, ka tirotiro noa ki nga pae maunga o Hikurangi rāua ko Whetumatarau, hei manu taiko, hei manu taki o ngā waiora o Waiapu rāua ko Awatere hei oranga mō nga uri whakatipu o Hinerupe rāua ko Awatere.

Kei tāku tua, kei tāku aro, āku whakaruruhau Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora rāua ko Te Whānau o Te Aotaihi, kua eke noa i runga te waka o Horouta, he mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.

Te kuku o tōku manawa Te Whānau Apanui rāua ko Te Whānau o Rangihuna,  ngā uri whakatipu o Porourangi tēnā koutou katoa.

From the whenua of my father Paikea Ariki Apanui,I look to the mountains of Hikurangi and Whetumatarau as they keep watch over the eternal rivers of Waiapū and Awatere whose sacred waters flow through and give sustenance to my marae of Hinerupe and Awatere.  I am guided by my hapū, Te whānau a  Tūwhakairiora and Te whānau o Te Aotaihī and transported on my sacred waka of Horouta.  I acknowledge my Apanui and Rangihuna whānau of Ngāti Porou.

I rere mai i nga pā tūwatawata ō tōku Whaea Te Arorangi Karaitiana, ka tirotiro hoki ki nga pae maunga o Rangitumau rātou ko Ruapehu ko Tararua, hei manu taki, hei manu taiko o ngā waiora o Ruamahanga rātou ko Whanganui ko Waipoua hei oranga mō nga uri whakatipu o Te Oreore, rātou ko Te Puke ko Akura hoki.

Kei tāku aro, kei tāku tua, āku whakaruruhau ō Ngāti Hāmua, rātou ko Te Uenuku, ko Akura, kua eke noa i runga ngā waka o Kurahaupo rātou ko Aotea, ko Takitimu, he mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.

Te kuku o tōku manawa Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa ka mihi matakuikui ano hoki ki ngā uri whakatipu o Te Whānau Karaitiana rātou ko Te Whānau Te Whareponga, ko Te Whānau Herewini tēnā koutou katoa.

From the lands of my mother Te Arorangi Karaitiana the mountains of Rangitumau, Ruapehu and Tararua make way for the flow of knowledge and strength from my rivers of Ruamahanga, Whanganui and Waipoua.  I take shelter in the arms my marae Te Oreore, Te Puke and Akura knowing full well that the whānau and hapū of Ngati Hāmua, Te Uenuku and Akura work to support my iwi of Rangitāne o Wairarapa, Te Ati Haunui ā Pāpārangi and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.  From my waka of Kurahaupo, Aotea and Takitimu I acknowledge my Karaitiana, Te Whareponga and Herewini Whanau.

Mr Speaker, Tena koe and thank you for inviting me to speak my first words in this House. I am privileged and humbled that I am able to do this in front of my superiors and my peers, my whānau and friends here and at home, and surrounded by the taonga that represents the many wars the people of this nation fought on our behalf so we could live in peace in this our whenua – Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Prime Minister the Right Honourable John Key, tena koe tōku rangatira. I am ecstatic to be joining the National caucus team under your outstanding leadership, I bring to you and the National caucus my can-do attitude, my loyalty, and my ability to work diligently within the team and for the people of this country.

Mr Speaker, I wish to mihi to our coalition parties, my whānaunga and co-leader of the Maori Party, the Honourable Tariana Turia, co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, and the Honourable Dr Pita Sharples; the leader of United Future, the Honourable Peter Dunne, and the leader of Act New Zealand, the Honourable John Banks. 

I also want to mihi the leaders and members of Parliament from the Opposition benches, and the press gallery.

Mr Speaker, I started my life in the small rural town of Eketahuna the second child of PK and Kate Apanui. My father worked on Te Hoe station in Alfredton and played rugby for Eketahuna and the under 21 Wairarapa Bush side.  As a child my parents moved from Eketahuna to yet a smaller rural town of Rangiwahia.  It was here where I spent my childhood.  Both my parents dedicated their lives to ensuring we had kai on our table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads.  We were poor in money, yet rich in love and support for each other. 

Yes Mr Speaker, I come to Parliament from a tight knit whānau with a background of hard work and an attitude that nothing is insurmountable.  My father believed that if one worked hard, one would reap their just rewards.  He knew that our world would be so different to his and so he instilled the whakatauki (proverb) E Tipu E Rea from our tūpuna and one of the first Maori MPs Sir Apirana Ngata.  Those words encouraged us to take hold and learn the ways of the Pakeha world while holding on to our Maori world.  My father modelled that whakatauki throughout his life – he wanted our future to be one of reaping the rewards that we all worked hard for.

Mr Speaker in 1997 my father succumbed to cancer and is buried at Ᾱkura in Masterton and I miss him dearly because I was his wild child – turned good.
I am fortunate to have my mother in the gallery this afternoon along with my whānau, extended whānau, hapū, and Iwi.  Mum was the disciplinarian and educationalist of my parents and today she is a Nan but also a Great Nan and a kuia for Wairarapa, and a member of the Wairarapa kaumatua group.  Kia ora Mum, kia ora whānau whānui.

Mr Speaker, it wasn’t until I left home that my life changed dramatically.  At age 22 I became an unmarried mother, on the domestic purposes benefit with little to no education qualifications.  It was this fright that changed me forever and I adopted the saying “if it has to be, then it’s up to me”. So I started a successful re-education programme which persists.

Along the way I met my soulmate, a man who took me and my son into his life and has believed in us. A man who at times says little but does a lot. A man who I am proud to have by my side, and one whom I am proud to stand by his side.  We are equal partners in everything we do and I love him to bits. Mr Speaker please meet my husband, Pat. Kia Ora Pat

Our son’s Mat and Ben, who are unable to be here today, have bought immense pleasure and pride to our lives as we have watched them and guided them towards adulthood.  They are now men of the world with all the lessons that that brings.  Thanks to my daughter-in-law Shan for producing two beautiful mokopuna, Carter and Eli. For it is them who carry the future of all our tomorrows and Nani J loves you.

Mr Speaker, I have been blessed with a number of opportunities in my life, but these would have been for nought had it not been for the people that I have met along the way. And there are too many to mention here but you all know who you are and I thank you for your support and guidance.

To my friends who have come here today to support me and to those who are watching at home, I thank you all for without you even knowing it your influence and support of me has been invaluable.

Mr Speaker, as you can see I come to Parliament having walked many roads and learned many lessons yet still I want more, because I haven’t finished yet.

My past has shaped my future, my family is my foundation, my mokopuna keep me real, and my friends continue to support me on the many journeys I have made and are yet to make.

Mr Speaker, today I take the road less travelled than others and one where I can utilise my skills and experience and learn new ones. I come to Parliament after contesting the 2011 election in the Dunedin South electorate and winning the party vote – a historical feat for the National Party and one that I am most proud.  I thank the Dunedin electorate teams and send you my heartfelt thanks to Robyn Broughton, Pippa Newstead, the Young Nats, and volunteers

Mr Speaker, I bring a wealth of experience, both community and professional.  I was one of the first school boards of trustees to take on the Tomorrow’s Schools challenge, serving for a number of years at our local primary schools as chair and treasurer.  Then later as deputy chair of FAHS Feilding High School.

I bring my professionalism in the health, education, welfare, business, and rural sectors.  I have worked in the community and for the community, I have worked for government agencies and in local government, and throughout my career I have taken people with me as the journey has not been about me alone.

Mr Speaker, I am proud to be a member of National and I want to thank our party president Peter Goodfellow, the board with a special mention to regional chairs Kate Haslett and Roger Bridge, electorate chairs Ele Ludemen and Malcolm Plimmer, and the service centre staff for all their hard work.

Most importantly though I pay tribute to the many volunteers and party supporters that make this party a great party to be a member of and to be a servant of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, as the newest National MP, I bring a rigid determination to make a difference for all people of Aotearoa New Zealand and to be an outstanding hardworking National member of Parliament.

Mr Speaker, ka mutu taku korero tuatahi kei roto i tenei whare.

Nā reira koutou, kua rāmenemene mai i runga i te whakaaro kotahi, ara te whare tāwharau nei.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Jo has worked very hard and waited a long time to get to parliament.

She brings a wealth of experience including something she didn’t mention – when she was young she did an apprenticeship in arc welding.

Best of all she brings the knowledge of the importance of loving family and the value of hard work.

Claudette Hauiti’s maiden speech

June 12, 2013

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

Mr Speaker,

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.

No reira

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.

%d bloggers like this: