The trail-blazing political career of Tariana Turia

Press Release – The Maori Party

The Mori Party co-leaders join others in congratulating the wahine toa from Te Tai Hau-a-Uru who has been appointed a Dame Companion in the New Years Honours List for her services as a Member of Parliament.MEDIA STATEMENT

Wednesday 31 December 2014

Acknowledging the trail-blazing political career of Tariana Turia

The Māori Party co-leaders join others in congratulating the wahine toa from Te Tai Hau-a-Uru who has been appointed a Dame Companion in the New Years Honours List for her services as a Member of Parliament.

Hon Tariana Turia (Ngāti Apa, Ngā Wairiki, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Whanganui) will forever be remembered in our nation’s history as the founding co-leader of the Māori Party. The Māori Party is the only indigenous party to be elected to New Zealand’s Parliament and to operate as an independent voice both in parliament and government.

“Who will forget the image of the then Labour Party MP Tariana Turia crossing the floor to oppose the unjust foreshore and seabed bill?” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

“Her immense personal courage inspired thousands to march from all corners of Aotearoa to Parliament to protest about the erosion of our customary and legal rights. With that brave and principled action she mobilised like-minded New Zealanders to establish the Māori Party to protect Māori rights and defend the aspirations of all who joined,” says Mr Flavell.

Mrs Turia entered parliament in 1996 as a List MP for the Labour Party and in 2002 she was elected as the MP for Te Tai Hauāuru. In opposition to the Labour Party’s position on the ownership of the foreshore and seabed, she resigned in May 2004, contested a by-election and on 27 July was sworn in as MP for Te Tai Hauāuru and co-leader of the newly established Māori Party.

“Tariana has been a champion of rangatiratanga (self-determination) for Māori as well as advocating strongly for disabled persons and Pasifika communities,”says Mr Flavell.

She has held ministerial portfolios in both Labour and National-led governments that have enabled her to significantly affect the lives of others. From 1999 she held a number of Associate Ministerial responsibilities with the Labour Government and in 2002 was appointed Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector. In these roles she established the first Community and Voluntary Sector office; introduced the Treaty clause into the Health and Disability Act; and promoted the uptake of cultural competency as a basic standard right across the health sector.

Between 2008 and 2014 she held the Ministerial portfolios for Whānau Ora, Disability Issues, the Community and Voluntary Sector, as well as further Associate Ministerial responsibilities including Health, Housing, Social Development and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment under a National-led Government.

Her stand-out policies include the introduction of Whānau Ora in 2010, the Enabling Good Lives approach for people with disabilities, Māori and Pasifika Trade Training and the introduction of smokefree legislation. Both Whānau Ora and Enabling Good Lifes are hallmarks of her leadership; in which strategies for change are considered to be most enduring when whānau/families have responsibility for determining their own solutions. Her contributions to the prevention of rheumatic fever and wide-ranging tobacco reform strategies have seen her acclaimed on the international stage.

Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox says Tariana has made an extraordinary contribution to the lives of thousands of New Zealanders.

“Tariana has supported individuals and whānau to ‘be the change’ and heroes for themselves. She has provided selfless service and we congratulate her, her husband Hori and indeed the entire Turia whānau on receiving this distinguished New Year’s Honour,” says Mrs Fox.

“In paying tribute to this amazing woman we in the Māori Party have an awesome responsibility to live up to her legacy; to continue to make the difference in the lives of whānau in such a powerful and enduring way. It is, indeed, a great honour to follow such a wahine toa of our nation.”

ENDS.

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