New Zealand Labour Party

Maiden speech - Adrian Rurawhe

Adrian Rurawhe, Labour MP for Te Tai Hauāuru, has given his Maiden Speech in Parliament.

Kororia Hareruia ki a koe, Ihoa o ngā Mano, Tuā-uriuri, Whaioio, kii tonu te Rangi me te Whenua i te nui o tona Kororia. Matua, Tama, Wairua Tapu me ngā Anahera Pono me Te Mangai, Whakahonore, Arepa, Omeka, Piriwiritua, me Hamuera, Mangai tautoko Ae.

E te mauri o te motu, Kingi Tuheitia, tēnā koe, otira te kāhui Ariki tēnā koutou.

Kei te mihi hoki au ki ngā Iwi katoa puta noa Te Tai Hauāuru. Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Atiawa ki whakarongotai, Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga, Ngāti Kauwhata, Muaupoko, Rangitane, Ngāti Apa, Ngā Wairiki, Ngāti Hauiti, Ngā Iwi o Mokai Patea, Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngati Maniapoto, Ngāti Ruakawa, Ngā Rauru ki Tahi, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahinerangi, Taranaki Tuturu, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Tama, me Ngāti Mutunga. Tēnā koutou katoa.

Tēnei hoki taku mihi atu ki ngā Morehu e noho ana puta noa ngā moutere nei, tae atu ki te Paa o Rātana. No reira e Te Tumuaki o Te Haahi, Te Perehitini o Te Maramatanga e te Papa Harerangi Meihana, tēnā koe, otira te Iwi Morehu tēnā koutou.

E kii ana te korero o oku mātua tupuna: “ Apa wetewete, nana tapiki i te takiritanga o te Ata, Tihei Mauri ora”!

Ko Adrian Rurawhe ahau, he maha aku iwi ki Te Tai Hauāuru. Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Hauiti, Whanganui, Ngā Rauru ki Tahi, me Ngāti Ruanui. No reira, e te whare, tena koe, tēnā tatou katoa.

Can I join with my Parliamentary Colleagues, in congratulating you on being re-elected as Speaker. I also offer my congratulations to the Honourable Chester Borrows, Lyndsy Tisch and the Honourable Trevor Mallard.

I was born in Taihape, where I grew up in a humble Railway house.

My father was a train driver, a second generation railway worker. My mother had trained as a Nurse and later on became a Social Worker. 

Both my parents were born and raised in Ratana Paa.

My paternal grandfather Paki Rurawhe from Ngā Puhi, had travelled from Kaeo in the far North, to Ratana Paa in 1925. My paternal Grandmother, Meipara Taawhi-Maaka, from Ngai Tahu and Ngāti Kahungunu had travelled from her home in Kaiapoi to Ratana Paa in 1919.

My maternal Grandmother Iriaka Te Rio from Te Ati Haunui-a-Paparangi, arrived in Ratana Paa, from the Whanganui river in 1920. 

And my Maternal Grandfather, Matiu Ratana the youngest son of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana and Te Urumanao Ngapaki, was born in Ratana Paa, and raised at Kauangaroa with his Ngāti Apa and Ngā Wairiki whānau.

I am not the first of my whānau to enter Parliament, I follow in the footsteps of, My granduncle Haami Tokouru Ratana, my grandfather, Matiu Ratana, and my grandmother Iriaka Ratana, all of whom were the Member of Parliament for Western Māori, now known as Te Tai Hauāuru.

More recently this seat has been held by another family member, my mother’s cousin the Honourable Tariana Turia. Mr Speaker I wish to pay tribute to her and the significant contribution that she has made, to the people of Te Tai Hauāuru and New Zeland. Anei ra taku mihi maioha atu ki aia, mo ona mahi nunui, ka mahia mai e aia, hei painga mo te iwi.

Not surprisingly the Ratana faith and Labour politics featured strongly in my upbringing. Although it was a matter of experiencing the whole environment of that reality rather than receiving specific instructions about it. 

Each election year, my parents would host candidates at our home. So we got to hear very interesting stories from equally interesting people. People that as children, we knew as Uncle Matt, Uncle Koro and Uncle Brownie. Who turned out to be Matiu Rata, Koro Wetere and Paraone Reweti, who along with Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan I would like to acknowledge for the lessons that I learned from them.

I want to pay special mention of the Hon. Koro Wetere who is with us in the House today. He has been very supportive of me, providing encouragement, as well as advice and historical context about politics.

No reira tenei taku mihi ki aia, mo tona tautoko mai ki ahau. E te papa e kore e mutu taku mihi atu ki a koe, tēna koe.

In 1924 Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana led a delegation to England to address the breaches and omissions of Te Tiriti o Watangi.

While in England, Ratana was told the New Zealand Government had sent a telegraph stating that he (Ratana) did not have a mandate concerning Te Tiriti o Waitangi, despite having representatives from most Iwi within his delegation. He was therefore denied the meeting that he had requested, with the King. Ratana was told that the problem lay with the New Zealand Government. 

Not long after this, Ratana decided to contest the next general election, and that Te Tiriti o Waitangi would be the foundation of his policies.

On Monday when I took the Oath, I was pleased to place one hand on the Bible, and in my other hand to hold a copy of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

I did this as an expression of my commitment to upholding my faith and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, during my time here in Parliament, Ture Wairua, Ture Tangata.

At the age 17, my dad told me that I would start work the following day.

I didn't need to ask where I would be working, he was a 2nd generation railway worker and I was fairly certain that I would be a 3rd generation Railway worker.

Back then the railway unions were very strong, and I learned about and indeed experienced how the Unions had gained better rights and conditions for their members. These rights that had been hard fought for and achieved under Labour Governments.

The last job that I had with Railways was processing final pays, at the time that I started work for Railways there were over 20 thousand employees, when I left there were less than 5 thousand.

I believe that whilst it was necessary to make operations more efficient, I believe that people should have been treated with a lot more dignity.

I vowed that if I was ever in position to do something about the protection of workers’ rights, then I would do so.

I look forward to the opportunity that the voters of Te Tai Hauāuru have afforded me, to address those very issues in this House.

I want to acknowledge Te Kura o Rātana, A school that was established in Ratana Paa 90 years ago. I was a Board Member and Chair for 13 years. 

It was on that Board of Trustees that I learned so much about good governance. Our Board faced many challenges which we were able to meet with the support of our community. We also had some major success as well.

It also prepared me for other governance roles. 

For example, in 2002 I was given the responsibility and honour of leading my Iwi, Ngāti Apa. During the ten years that I chaired Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Apa, I represented my Iwi on issues concerning, Health, Social Services, Education as well as being a negotiator for our Treaty Settlement.

If I thought School governance could be challenging, image my surprise when confronted with Iwi governance.

Such things as submissions to select committees, Waitangi Tribunal hearings, court cases, dealing with overlapping claims. And then of course, I was required to attend Hapū hui, where I had the pleasure of trying to explain all of the detail, to my people, for them to be able to make sense of it all. 

Of course,we did it because we knew that there were significant benefits derived from the settlement of our Treaty Claim, for our people.

I'm immensely proud that our Iwi was the first to negotiate a Cultural Revitalisation Redress Package, NOT because we were first, but because that is what our people wanted.

I believe that through treaty settlements along with empowering policies, that we can work together to unlock the potential of Whānau, Hapū, Iwi and the community.

I was pleased to hear that the Government will continue to fund Māori Research.

Up until April of this year I was employed at Te Atawhai o Te Ao, an independent research institute based in Whanganui. The Institure is carrying out a Health Research Council funded Programme of research called ‘He Kokonga Whare’, which is research that focuses on Māori Intergenerational Trauma and Healing.

I think that it is crucially important that the Research and the academic Sector accepts that Kaupapa Māori Research methodology is not only valid but needs to be embraced and accepted by these Sectors.

I want to acknowledge my former work colleagues, Dr Cherryl Smith and Dr Paul Reynolds, for giving me the opportunity to work and participate in Kaupapa Māori Research.

As part of He Kokonga Whare, Te Atawhai o te Ao has a project that focuses on the impact of sexual violence on māori. It is essential that we hear the voices of those that have experienced abuse. I acknowledge the very brave people who speak up about their experiences. Those too that have the courage to call for all parties to work together for the end of all forms of violence.

I want to recognise my Party, the Labour Party. I am truly honoured to be a Labour Party Member of Parliament. 

I look forward to working with you all through this 51st Parliament and beyond.

I would like to thank my hard working and dedicated Campaign Team, led by my Campaign Manager, Gaylene Nepia and assisted by Christina Gush.

Tēnā koutou me a koutou kaha ki te hapai tēnei kaupapa nui.

I thank also the People of Te Tai Hauāuru, for the confidence and trust that they have shown in electing me to Parliament.

I will work hard to be the very best Member of Parliament for them all.

I wish to acknowledge all of my whānau, ALL who have travelled here today, and all those who are watching around the country.

Ki a koutou taku whānau whanui, aku whaea, aku mātua, aku Teina, aku tuāhine. Me pehea te mihi ake ki a koutou. Tēnā koutou me a koutou aroha mai ki au. Tēnei hoki au e tuku aroha atu ki a koutou me a tatou tamariki mokopuna. Ki a koutou o tēnei reanga a Mareana, Jeron, Reimana, Te Ari o Te Kahurangi, Jayla, Matiu me Te Aomarama. Ko koutou te huarahi mo apopo. Me u tonu ki ngā kaupapa tuku iho a kui ma a koro ma.

Finally, today is a very special day in the Ratana Calendar. 80 years ago today, saw the passing of Ratana’s son Hamuera.
Amongst our people, Hamuera is recognised as signifying the end of all evil practice.

Can I recommend that today, Members, no matter what their faith, religion or value system, that they reflect upon all of the good things that our great country has to offer, during this time that we remember and mark the centennial of the outbreak of WWI.

Kaati ra, ko tēnei te waa o te Pipiwharauro. E kii ana te korero, ko Hamuera te tatau, ko Hamuera te whakaotinga

Me u tono tatou ki tenei kaupapa.

No reira, huri rauna te whare nei, tēnā koutou I runga I te tukuna mai o ratou ma I te waahi ngaro. Mangai tautoko Ae.