I can’t recall the last time Parliament had a maiden speech and a valedictory speech on the same day. First NZPA report on the valedictory of Pansy Wong:
“It was beyond my wildest dreams when, 14 years ago, a girl born in Shanghai who grew up in a Hong Kong apartment where eight families shared a kitchen and bathroom, made an historic maiden speech in Parliament,” she said. …
“My political career has been an all-consuming one,” she said.
“It would not have been possible without my husband Sammy’s unrelenting support. As a consequence, his business interests were severely curtailed.”
“The playing field is far from being equal, but anything is possible if one works hard for it…nowadays it is accepted that Asian New Zealanders can succeed in the highest office.”
“It is time to turn a page in my life’s journey, to focus on personal and family priorities.
“The journey has been a remarkable one and it is time for me to exit political life.
“Sammy, I am coming home.”
I’m personally very sad to see Pansy go in these circumstances. I’ve known her since 1996, and she has always been delightfully cheerful and down to earth – has never let being an MP go to her head.
Pansy used to live in my apartment block so when I worked at Parliament, I’d sometimes get a lift in with her. We used to joke about the ghost of Muldoon haunting our apartment block (he used to live here also).
I was also the regional liasion to the Wellington Asian Committee for a couple of years, when I was Regional Deputy Chair. They were a powerhouse wheb it came to organising events and functions. It was always amusing as they planned a function and went around the committee, asking people how many tickets to a yum cha or the like they could sell for say $50 each. Most people would commit to selling 30 – 50 places each. Pansy would often take on responsibility for 100 places, and then when it came to me, I would sheeplishly commit to two tickets!
I often reflected that the only thing more surreal than me being the regional liasion to the Asian Committee, was that I also was regional liasion to the women’s committee also
So a sad farewell to Pansy, with the contrast being the maiden speech of Mana MP Kris Faafoi:
This is not the first time I have spoken in the House of Representatives.
In 1994 as a spirited 18 year old Jim Anderton chose me as his Youth MP.
That September day I arrived not realising I had to give a speech.
Flustered and nervous I scrambled to write something on the spot.
I also recall a young – well spoken – ginger headed Youth MP from up the line.
He spoke enthusiastically and seemed comfortable in his surroundings.
16 years on Darren nothing has changed!
Some say Darren is still a Youth MP
I didn’t know Kris had been a Youth MP. Knowing this, his switch from journalism to politics is more logical.
Can I take this opportunity to also acknowledge the other candidates in the recent by-election.
In particular I would like to acknowledge the Honourable Hekia Parata and Jan Logie.
On the whole the mood on the hustings was genuinely friendly.
Mana is one of the few electorates where spontaneous Pacific Island dancing is not an uncommon happening at campaign events.
I’m sure we are all glad my former TV colleagues did not make it to many of those.
Dad – I don’t know how you did it – but when I went hunting through your Wairarapa College yearbook and noticed your nickname was Romeo – it sounds like you did OK.
My mother Metita – left as part of a repatriation scheme – she didn’t know she was leaving Tokelau until the day she left.
They departed their homeland as 16 year olds – they left behind their loved ones, their culture, their religion to seek a better life in New Zealand.
Through hard work and sacrifice – and some help from the state – they toiled to make sure their hard work counted for something.
My parents wanted to ensure their three sons and daughter were raised as New Zealanders – they also wanted us to hold on to the important aspects of their way of life from the Pacific.
One reason I always like maiden speeches, is they are a reminder of the families behind an MP, and the incredible sacrifices parents make for their children.
Last week I got a letter of congratulations from Ward Clarke – my High School Principal.
I have two vivid memories of Mr Clark.
He espoused the value of the afternoon nap.
And each year he delivered us this quote from William Penn which inspired me and which I would like to share as I come to an end -.
I expect to pass through life but once.
If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.
A very nice touching speech. Well done Kris.Tags: Kris Faafoi, maiden speech, Pansy Wong, valedictories