Mama on a mission

Parliament TV has become staple TV in my household this year. Previously, my 3 fashion savvy grown daughters have been more interested in the Kardashians than what their Mum is up to, but 2015 was quite the year. I never fail to get a full fashion critique for my outfits in the House, and friendly reminders on when my eyebrows need extra attention. They can’t wait to see the drama unfolding with Mum on the TV. My Mum even tapes Parliament TV on her VCR!

This transition from political activist to an official Member of Parliament has been a big one for my whole family. My Dad couldn’t come to my swearing in ceremony because he was in London. But then his three siblings came to represent him. My mum and my stepmum came. My siblings and their children all came. My kuia came. My aunty, who has health issues, travelled from Auckland and the trip actually wiped her out but she still came. I can’t understate this, my becoming an MP is a big deal in my family. I need to thank each and every one for their continued support and love.

I really love this job. I understand even more now, how much of a unique position I am in and challenges that I come with it. I am acutely aware of the privileges of this job also.

The House of Parliament is like being in a ring with pitbulls. It is brutal. It spurs me on and energises me. I wondered whether that would have an impact on me, I was warned by many. I like the direct feisty engagement of it. Rather than feeling downtrodden, it engages me. The absence of certain voices makes me all the more determined to represent the voices that I stand for.

It is very much an older-white-man-in-a-suit-world, and the system is set up to favour their world view. It is hard sometimes, but it strengthens my resolve to claim the contribution that I have to make. As a younger Māori woman, I want you to know that I belong here. I want to help others who look like me to get here.

In the short 8 weeks since I started as a new MP it has been my fortune to have had a good run in the House: I delivered a maiden speech that was widely viewed, I have stood in 3 question times to call the government to account on human rights and Pacific climate concerns, I have delivered 5 speeches during legislation debate on issues of housing and benefit entitlements, and I had the honour of giving an adjournment speech to acknowledge those doing it tough over the festive season. They say ‘start as you mean to go’ and so it was always going to be an eventful entrance period I guess.

Climate change, particularly from an indigenous perspective, will remain a focus issue for me. I hate not being able to be with my colleagues on the frontline at the Paris climate talks, or with Te Hiku o te Ika activists opposing deep sea oil in the Far North, but I am representing those concerns in the House in Parliament. I am taking the people’s voices and actions into the House of Parliament and helping to amplify and advocate for their concerns.

So what are my 2016 ambitions?

I want to be a credible and respected voice for Māori and kaitiaki responsibilities in Aotearoa. Children have been at the forefront of my work, and will continue to be.

I am really looking forward to getting around the country next year to make connections and build relationships with stakeholders in my portfolios. I am keen to listen to their stories and see the work they are doing in communities, in the economy and for the environment.

I take my responsibility as representative seriously, and so it’s important to me that I bring the ideas and concerns of the communities and groups I represent into Parliament and politics.

I will be looking to run issue campaigns on kaupapa in my portfolios to help build public pressure for policy changes. There are many ways to achieve this, and I’m keen to hear your thoughts about the best way to do it. Let me know what you think.

10 Comments Posted

  1. JKey uses the word “fight” for NLP and winning votes on tele. eg. “fight for life”

    Here is a cut n past from my FB page, not sure what age Marama’s girls are, but perhaps they play guitar.

    This is the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine, singing hippy songs and talking about music n politics – he still drops the f#-bomb, but hey, we all carry our scars.

    Tom Morello (The Nightwatchman) – This Land Is Your Land @OccupyLA
    Описание Tom Morello – Interview with Nic Harcourt (Part 1) – from Occupy-Wall-Street site:

    Thanks to Marama for her FB posts, Metro Mag on John Cambell, etc.

    Peace n Love

  2. The meaning of the word “fighting” has changed markedly in the last few years. Used to be about combat but lately it has included the concept of competing and struggling.

    Most often the term “fighting” is misused particularly in sport (especially in motor racing and football – the round ball type) where through laziness or ignorance everyone is “fighting” for the lead or to gain ascendancy over the competitors. The better (proper?) word is competing. But that is market forces for you!!

    BJ uses the “fighting” word instead of perhaps the correct word “struggling”. This has a lot older changeover date where people, say in a drowning situation, were deemed to be “fighting” for their lives. They were struggling but fighting sounds so much more dramatic.

    Nothing wrong with the use of the word “fighting” as its new meaning today is much broader then its dictionary one.

  3. com’on bro,
    “fightin” isn’t a green value – that’s just trolling.

    The whole internet has become an AI fueled dis-information monster – good luck on you never ending quest.

  4. Kia ora marama, thanks for the Monbiot link really interesting (and frightening) to read the monetisaton of nature in the UK. This reminds me of Jane Gleeson-White’s work, which you would enjoy if you haven’t read it already, and it’s in the Auckland public library, I have read her accounting history which is fascinating and builds her case for her sustainable economics book Six Capitals, which I haven’t read yet.
    For when you are ready to come back from whanau and relaxing, xx Stefanie

  5. kia ora Marama. Your latest speeches and this blog says so much on what you are, who you stand and speak for and the journey you have taken to get there. And I want to mention the anticipation that so many of us had felt as you waited in the wings ( like your dad does most days). At times it was unbearable,and I guess for you too,but now you are there. pitbulls and all, not many with a green hue i am glad to say. stay true to your op shop support mission, drop in maori reo too, I will struggle but we all need to recognise the second official language of Aotearoa. And for all our sakes take care of yourself, it pains me to quote Muldoon but the word NO followed by ‘not this year’ will save you much angst. Be mindful, take time to smell the roses, listen to your body and whanau, and know the spirit of peace and love that comes to you every day from this old kaitiaki tinana. (I wish.)

  6. Kia ora Marama, I think you’ve made a great start. This quote from Kipling’s “Last of the Light Brigade” sums up what I’m hoping you might somehow achieve in Parliament:

    The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
    And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with “the scorn of scorn.”
    And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
    Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

  7. I have no suggestions of improvement.. you are just that amazing… I know YOU know I mean that from my heart

    Please please let me know if I can help in any way

  8. The Pricing of Everything – by George Monbiot – Environmental Activist (and Guardian reporter)

    One of his best – basically he uses examples of UK environmental politics to show the difference between the two camps of resource economics.

    Environmental Economics is hy-jacked by neo-liberal politics.

    Ecological Economic offers the best tools available for maximising resource benefit.

    If anyone thinks I’ve over simplified that, then good luck reading his full speech (the video was better, script is slightly edited)

    Best wishes Marama

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