AUTHORISED BY HON HEKIA PARATA MP, LEVEL 1, 20 PARUMOANA STREET, PORIRUA, 5200.
Ministerial Portfolio Responsibilities:
Minister of Education
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
E tipu e rea mo nga ra o tou ao – grow and fulfil the needs of your generation
Ko to ringa ki nga rakau a te Pakeha – absorbing the knowledge of other cultures
Hei oranga mo to tinana - for your material wellbeing
Ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tipuna – cherishing the treasures of your ancestors
Hei tikitiki mo to mahuna - as a source of pride and identity
A, ko to wairua ki te Atua, nana nei nga mea katoa – your soul to God, author of all things
Hon Sir Apirana Ngata, MP 1905-1943
Motto of Ngata Memorial College, Ruatoria
I came to Parliament after the General Election in November 2008 - it was the natural next step for me in following the E Tipu E Rea prescription for commitment to community, capability, culture and communion.
I grew up in the small, economically challenged, culturally rich and politically dynamic community of Ruatoria – 120kms north of Gisborne on the East Coast of New Zealand. Cultural and historical home to Ngati Porou, a tribe of some 70,000 today, the area has contributed generations of public servants whether to the armed forces (most notably the C Company of the 28th Maori Battalion); the front line of education, health, and policing; the infrastructural backbone of the country of roading, telecommunications, postal services; or to the core state sector of public policy advisers.
Public service and the pursuit of quality citizenship for every New Zealander have been key drivers in my trip through life. This stop: Parliament.
My public service career has included passages in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (with a wonderful posting to the NZ Embassy, Washington DC and an enduring fascination with the United States of America); the Ministry for the Environment (with the opportunity to chair the work on the Treaty of Waitangi (State Enterprises Act 1988); the Prime Minister’s Advisory Group (and all the restructuring of the Maori Affairs portfolio in the state sector as well as the early Treaty policy work around claim settlement, land, fisheries, social, cultural and legislative infrastructure); the Housing Corporation of NZ (with the introduction of the accommodation benefit); Te Puni Kokiri (twice – development of Maori public policy rather than public policy about Maori; and the creation of the Maori Potential policy framework); and some short issue based stints in the State Services Commission, Ministry of Health, and the Institute of Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.
Early and continuing education has been the springboard for my professional choices, and the basis of a profound belief in the power of successful education experiences to transform the lives of individuals, their families, their communities – and their nation. While I support the opportunities of second chance education; my emphasis is on getting it right the first time round. If we do that, then all further engagement is part of a life long learning experience and the cultivation of a society that never stops learning.
My own education started with my parents as first teachers long before it became a recognised policy; early participation in Playcentre; on to Manutahi Maori Primary School; Ngata Memorial College (all Ruatoria based – and all excellent educational experiences; being Maori and rural did not condemn you to a second rate education); Gisborne Girls High School (loved the challenging all-girl, large roll, provincial town experience); University of Waikato finishing with an MA in Maori and NZ HIStory (and the opportunities to lead the Maori university students association, the Waikato Students Union, and participate in protest activity, most affecting, opposing the Springbok Tour); two short executive level courses first at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (having won the NZ Public Service Scholarship and finding that NZ was well ahead in its approach to public sector management); then Templeton College, Oxford University (where I had the amazing experiences of conducting a choir in one of the centuries old college chapels, applying Shakespeare’s Henry V to modern strategic leadership; and studying the Art of Conversation).
I believe that the role of the Government is to create an environment of opportunity and choice, enterprise and growth; to provide high quality education and health services and law and order to protect the person and their property; to invest in and reward self-reliance, personal accountability, and an attitude of reciprocal obligation; to support families and communities to be self-determining and self-directed; and to limit the size and intrusion of the State so that people can be powerful actors in their own lives.
State dependency steals our opportunity to practice everyday rangatiratanga: the realisation of our personal potential and the exercise of authority over our own lives. In a caring and compassionate society State help must always be available to those who need it; our challenge is to ensure that it is delivered in ways that support striving and not stagnation; a life celebrated and not simply endured.
My family grew up without owning our own house or car. When our parents’ marriage destructed we relied on, and were grateful for, the assistance of the State with housing and income, and education scholarships. These were lifelines for our family. They provided a bridge from where we were to where we could go.
Culture and identity are the collective and personal lenses through which we see and interpret the world. Knowing who you are and where you come from helps you to get going and to get where you are going. They provide the compass in an ever changing world. It is essential that we embrace, practice and respect our own cultures so that we might extend the same to those who are not the same as we are.
Ko Hikurangi me Aoraki nga maunga
Ko Waiapu me Waitaki nga awa
Ko Ruatoria me Puketeraki nga kainga
Ko Ngati Porou me Kai Tahu aku iwi
I was born lucky – I was born Nati; the people that the sun shines on first. We have our beliefs, and our traditions, and our his- and her-stories; our land and seascapes; our songs and literature and art works; our language. We were raised with a strong sense of connection, of whanau, kinship and belonging; of place and standing in the world; of cultural wealth, pride, and fortuitousness; of responsibility and expectation. The tribal experienceI know is one of energy, robust and muscular debate, high and demanding expectations, sharp and quick humour, confidence, certainty, conviction.
I believe that we each have the right to our own beliefs about religion and spirituality, but that the practice of those beliefs must not infringe on the beliefs of others.
AUTHORISED BY HEKIA PARATA, UNIT 5 107 MANA ESPLANADE, PORIRUA 5026
Here in the Mana electorate we have all the ingredients of a success story: rich cultural diversity, vibrant village communities, a young and vital population, balanced by a strong backbone of seniors, energetic local leaders, active sport and recreation, dynamic and contemporary arts, dance, music and theatre, a fast growing economy.
We are blessed to live, work, and play in a natural environment of stunning yet fragile beauty. We need to care for our environment so that it may in turn care for us.
Mana is the face of the future; we are what New Zealand is becoming. We have the opportunity to lead. I enjoy being a part of that.