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Maiden speech - Peeni Henare

Peeni HenareLabour MP for Tāmaki Makaurau, has given his Maiden Speech in Parliament.

E te Māngai o tēnei whare tēnā koe, otirā tēnā tātou katoa.

Me mihi au ki aku mātua o Te Ātiawa me Ngāti Toa, nā rātou nei te mihi I āhei ai mātou ki te noho mai ki roto I tēnei whare ki runga hoki I tēnei papa.

E te Māngai o Te Whare, e tautoko ana tēnei ihu hupe I ngā mihi rangatira I ūhia ki runga ki a koe, koutou ko te kāhui whakahaere o tēnei whare e ngā toki o te whare I te rā tuatahi I noho ai te whare I te Mane nei.

E mihi ana ki aku huānga, ngā iwi tangata whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau: Ko Ngāti Whatua ki Ōrakei, Te Waiōhua, Marutūahu, Tainui whānui e ko te Kiingi Māori e! E te pāpā e Koro, kua kotahi taua ki raro I te maru o tō tāua Kiingi! Tēnā koe, tēnā koe, tēnā koe.

Ka kauria mai au i te moana kānapanapa o Te Wai o Te Matā.

Kia tū mai ki runga o Pukekawa.

I reira nei a Te WheroWhero e noha ana.

Ka rere arorangi taku titiro ki Ohinerau, ara ko te Kōpuke.

Kia tau au ki te pūtake o Maungawhau, ka piki ki runga kia titiro iho au ki te Ipu o Mataoho.

Ka huri atu taku rae ki Riukiuta, ā ko Wairaka kei te uru.

Kōtata mai ko Te Ahikā a Rākataura.

Ka hoki whakarunga ko Puketāpapa, ko Waitākere e.

Kātahi atu rā ki te maunga rongonui ko Maungakiekie.

Kei tōna pūtake ko Rarotonga.

Mai i Rarotonga ki Mutukāroa ko Ōtāhuhu.

Arā ko te Tāhuhutanga o te waka o Tainui.

Tapotu ki te moana ko te Mānukanuka o Hoturoa.

Kei uta ko te Pane o Mataoho, arā ko Te Ara Pueru.

Tu tata tonu mai ko Maungataketake, ko Matukutūruru, ko Matukutūreia.

Ka hoki mai mā Ōhuiārangi, mā Taurere.

Kia tau mai ki Maungarei. Te Awa o Tāmaki.

I hōea rā e te waka o Tainui.

Kia tau taku wairua ki Waiōuru, e tau taku wairua, KA TAU E!

Ki te mātotorutanga o te iwi Māori kei Tāmaki Makaurau e noho ana, ānei te tū whakamōwai atu o tēnei tinana koretake ki te mihi whakamānawa atu kia koutou. Heoi ano tāku kia koutou, kei te kōtihitihi o aku whakaaro koutou e noho ana I ngā wā katoa. He nui tonu ngā maunga hei piki, he nui anō hoki ngā moana hei kau, ēngari, I ngā wā katoa me anga atu te titiro ki ngā taumata o te moana.

E te pāpā, Tākuta Te Hōnore Pita Sharples, kua kawea ake te hoe ūrungi o te waka kua mahue mai nei e koe. Ka hāngai tonu te tauihu o te waka ki uta mā runga I te reo o te tītītai, o te tūruki kia kotahi te hīpapa o ngā hoe – tōkihi, tōkihi!

Ki aku pāpā e rua, kia Hone Harawira rāua ko Te Hōnore Shane Jones, e aku kākākura, e aku Ika ā Whiro, mokemoke ana te Whare I tō kōrua ngarotanga atu. Tērā te kōrero a ngā tūpuna he mate noa iho ki uta. Ko wai kā hua, ko wai kā tohu. Ka ara mai te rā ki runga I a Ngāti Manu e te uri o Pomare, e tū!

Let me preface my maiden speech with the words of Sir James Carroll in his valedictory made at the funeral of Sir William Herries, Minister of Native Affairs from 1912 to 1921: “As I survey this wondrous gathering, my mind is as a honeycomb, to which home a thousand honeyed memories.” For it is 100 years ago, almost to the month, that my great-grandfather Taurekareka Hēnare entered this House upon the resignation of Sir Peter Buck, who enlisted to serve as a medical officer for the New Zealand Battalion, more commonly known as the Pioneer Battalion. E te Māngai o te Whare, tēnā koe. Sir Peter Buck served with distinction at Gallipoli, and at this point can I acknowledge the centenary of the Great War—lest we forget.

History records that Taurekareka Hēnare entered this House to a hung Parliament, and in return for his support of the reform party, at that time led by the farmer Bill Massey, the confiscated lands of Te Kapotai and Te Patukeha were returned to them and the Government began discussions with Te Arawa, leading to the formation of the Te Arawa Māori Trust Board in 1924. Taurekareka Hēnare stayed on in Parliament for 24 years, somewhat longer and arguably more distinguished than his great-grandson of the same name, who retired from this House recently, of which I am sure, Mr Assistant Speaker Trevor Mallard, you are well aware. He was defeated eventually by Paraire Karaka Paikea in 1938.

I move on to my late grandfather Sir James Hēnare, who after returning from the Second World War stood for the National Party three times in the Northern Māori electorate. The last time he stood was in the by-election of 1963 when he was defeated by his nephew the Hon Matiu Rata, who won the Northern Māori seat with the majority of 412 votes, which I am sure you are aware of, Mr Assistant Speaker. This was the closest that the National Party ever came to winning a Māori seat and long may that tradition continue.

It comes to mind that my uncles the Rt Hon Winston Peters and Pita Paraone MP, much loved nephews and mentees of my grandfather, will remember him well for his speeches on the failure of the Government at that time to recognise the issue of Māori education. This would be ignored, to New Zealand’s detriment, in years to come. While on that issue I wish to recognise my auntie the Hon Hekia Parata, Minister of Education, upon whose shoulders currently rest the dreams and aspirations of thousands of Māori and Pacific Island children in my electorate of Tāmaki Makaurau.

History now goes on to tell us that the Māori nation was very lucky that he did not enter Parliament. As an elder statesmen, he went on to achieve many more things for our nation that he would not have been able to achieve had he become a member of this august institution. Can I say with some candour that this was an issue that weighed heavily on my mind when early on in life I considered a future in politics, but I am driven by the strong-held belief of my grandfather that the future vision of this nation is built upon a strong bicultural foundation—a foundation that was sanctified when my many ancestors put their sacred ngū to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Clearly, whānau political ideology is not a compatible bedfellow with the precepts of free-thinking as encouraged to me by my grandfather, because as irony would have it, today I sit across the floor with the very party that was the nemesis of William Massey at the time of my great-grandfather. I am most humbled that the people of Tāmaki Makaurau have elected me to be their representative in Parliament. I pledge to them to work to the utmost of my abilities to advocate for their needs and to pursue a bipartisan approach in order to generate solutions for their issues. Please allow me to briefly share with other members of this House what some of those issues are and postulate possible pathways forward.

The A Company based in Whangarei is a concept that should be implemented widely throughout the Māori and Pacific communities in Tāmaki Makaurau. It has at its heart the education, the business, and the community sectors, giving learners the chance to gain exposure to other specialist skills that are not available to them within the sector at the moment. They are currently linking up with the local independent training providers to increase the scope of learning available to their learners. Its major funding source is the ASB Community Trust. This concept is very much about supporting all learners from the womb to the tomb. They are beginning to expand into Tāmaki Makaurau, and I believe this will prove to be a positive move.

Growing up, my generation had the right of a backyard, which gave us the opportunity to not only test our rugby skills but also our mothers’ patience. This right, I fear, could be lost for the generations to come. Housing is no longer about people but about profit. The backyard playground is now reserved only for land developers and property speculators. This, I believe, is to the detriment of the communities in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Although poverty, it is said, is relative, it has to be accepted that it is endemic amongst many Māori and Pacific families in Tāmaki Makaurau. Its causes are many and varied, and there is no one fix. Some say if you provide employment, good housing, good health, and educational opportunity, the issue will simply go away, so I look forward to a bipartisan approach based not on political ideology—or, for that matter, more money—but a pragmatic approach that sees instruments of the all-powerful State engaging with these communities.

Te Reo Māori is my first language. As one of the first children of kōhanga reo, I am forever grateful for the hard work of many to ensure that the native language of this land is not lost. The people of Tāmaki Makaurau deserve the right to learn Te Reo Māori and experience its richness. I believe my grandfather was right when he said the language is the life essence of Māori mana. We must free Te Reo Māori from the shackles of institutional racism and a lack of vision—ā, kāti.

Ka tahuri atu ahau ki taku whanau ka waiho na atu tēnei korero. E toru ngā taonga e waiho na atu, ko te whakaiti, ko te tino whakaiti, a, ka whakaiti nei. Tēnā tātou katoa.

Strong and comprehensive

LabourVoices on October 24, 2014

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