Friday, July 25, 2014

Haere rā Tariana

Tariana Turia has mellowed since she first entered the public consciousness. In the mid 1990's, she was one of the faces of Maori activism in and around Whanganui, and was one of the leaders of the occupation of Moutua Gardens/Pakaitore in the city.

Mrs Turia became a Labour list MP in 1996. She famously left the Labour Party in 2004 to form the Maori Party, and since 2008 has held ministerial roles in the John Key-led Government.

Yesterday Mrs Turia bade farewell to the place that has been her second home for 18 years. Here's her valedictory speech, courtesy of In the House:

Whilst we do not share Mrs Turia's political views, she has earned our respect in recent years. Joining John Key in government was not popular with many Maori, but there is little doubt that Maori have benefitted more from being in the whare than from being outside, in opposition.

We also admire Mrs Turia for sticking to her principles when she could no longer abide by the Labour Party's Foreshore and Seabed legislation. It took a lot of guts to stare Helen Clark down, but that is exactly what she did.

Mrs Turia also paid a warm tribute to Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson. The issue of treaty settlements is both complex and controversial. This was her mihi to Mr Finlayson yesterday:

I cannot leave this House without recognising a real friend, Chris Finlayson. Chris is the greatest Treaty settlements Minister that we have ever had in this country.
In our iwi we have had the longest litigation in the history of this country over our river. It is just around the corner, and I want to say thank you to you so much for working so hard alongside our whānau, hapū, and iwi of Whanganui. 

It will indeed be a moment of significance when the claim of the Whanganui River iwi is finally settled. Whilst it is unfortunate that won't happen during Tariana Turia's tenure as MP for the region, she will doubtless be closely involved in the process.

We wish Mrs Turia a long and happy retirement from public life. We are sure her husband, children and the many grandchildren and great-grandchildren she proudly referred to yesterday will be pleased to see her a little more frequently.

Haere rā Tariana.


Barry said...

I think she's just another racist and separatist.

nookin said...

I think she will go down as one of the more admirable politicians of recent times.

She has never descended into gotcha politics.

She has always acted with complete respectful must and dignity.

She says what she believes and believes what she says and that she has done her utmost for her constituency. I wish there were more around with those character traits.

Keeping Stock said...

I agree Nookin. I said in the post that Mrs Turia had mellowed over the years, but equally I am no longer as red-necked as I may have been in my youth. They say a good wine improves with age, and perhaps that's the same with bloggers!