All_your_base at The Standard has a very generous post on the maiden speeches of Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Melissa Lee.
I’ve just watched the first part of the Address in Reply debate which included maiden speeches by two new National Party MPs – Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Melissa Lee. They were impressive. This in itself should provide some cause for concern for Labour but more ominous should be the signal that while this year’s election is over, National’s campaign for 2011 has already begun.
I doubt very much that Sam and Melissa’s names were drawn from a ballot.
They were not. It is a rare privilege to move and second the Address in Reply debate, and the honours normally go to two new MPs whom are judged by the party leadership as having bright futures ahead of them.
In their speeches both made much of the changing face of the National Party. If I heard her correctly, Ms Lee will be New Zealand’s first Korean MP and the first female Korean MP in the world outside of her mother country. Mr Lotu-Iiga scored a convincing victory in the previously Labour-held Maungakiekie electorate. Both MPs spoke confidently in english, in their native tongues, and in Maori. If Labour was ever becoming complacent about the continued traditional support of the nationwide ethnic community, the approach National took today should be a wake-up-call.
Both speeches were excellent. I blog some quotes below.
Finally, I may have missed something but it would have been nice to see even a few of the members of the Labour caucus cross the floor to congratulate the new National Party MPs as did those from other parties (including the Greens). You don’t have to like it, but for the time being you might just have to suck it up.
Yeah maiden speeches are generally a time to put party differences aside.
NZPA reports on parts of Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga’s speech:
Education, family and faith mean a lot to new National MP Sam Lotu-Iiga.
The Samoan-born MP was the first to give a maiden speech in the new Parliament which opened today.
He recalled a childhood in Mangere, where extended family at times swelled the numbers in the household to 16, and sacrifices his parents made.
“My parents suffered and endured a great deal just so us children could live better lives. We were not a wealthy family but we were rich in spirit, resourceful and determined to succeed in this country.”
While he thanked his wife Jules and family, several watching in the audience openly wept. His own voice broke when he talked about his late daughter who he was sure could hear his words. “I miss you and I love you.”
Sam’s family has had huge challenges this year.
Mr Lotu-Iiga said he was raised with strong family values, Christian principles and a strong work ethnic.
“I was taught at a young age that education was the key to a successful future.”
Educated at Auckland Grammar School Mr Lotu-Iiga went on to study at Auckland University to attain BCom/LLB and MCom(Hons) degrees. He also holds an MBA from Cambridge University (Queens College).
I’ll link to the full speech once I have it.
Melissa’s maiden speech was also very personal and moving:
It is with great honour that I deliver my maiden speech not only as the first MP of Korean descent in New Zealand, but also the first Woman of Korean descent to become an MP outside of Korea. It is indeed humbling. It is truly a sign that the world has come of age in a global sense. It’s also a step toward realizing our Prime Minister’s and the National Party’s vision, to make our parliament more diverse and truly representative of the population that now make up our country.
I am also very pleased to be giving my Maiden Speech in this House, at a time when New Zealand has chosen to say NO to a party, whose policy gained support from people who “dislike” people like me – simply because of my ethnic heritage. Call it irony or just a fortunate turn of events that with the exit of that party, comes the first minister of Asian origin in the Cabinet. New Zealand has come of age it seems by saying we have no room at this inn for racists. It is the dawning of a new era, and it is my privilege to be a part of it.
NZ First did run shocking campaigns targeting immigrants based on their race. I actually don’t think Peters himself was racist, but think he did set out to appeal to people who believed in a white only immigration policy, such as his Deputy Leader appeared to.
KA MIHI ATU KI TE TANGATA WHENUA,.. OTIRA KI NGA WAKA HUHUA KATOA I WHITI MAI I TE MOANANUI A KIWA, MAI I HAWAIIKI NUI, KI AOTEAROA.
I pay homage to the tangata whenua … To all of the canoes that crossed the Pacific Ocean from Hawaiiki to New Zealand.
NA RATOU TE ARA I WHAKATAKOTO, OTIRA, NA RATOU TE OOHAAKI I EA AI TE KORERO, HE IWI KOTAHI TATOU.
They paved the way, and they initiated a unity that has made us who we are today.. We are one people.
PERA I A RATOU.. I HAERE MAI AU KI KONEI MA RUNGA I TETAHI WAKA I TE TAU WARU TEKAU MA WARU.
Like them, I too arrived on a waka in 1988.
ENGARI KO NGA HOE O TOOKU WAKA, HE PARIRAU KEE… A, I TERE AKE TE HAERE I TERA O NGA WAKA A NGA TUUPUNA.
The only difference was that my oars were replaced with wings and it travelled much faster than that of the ancestors.
KA AWHI AU I A AOTEAROA, KA AWHI MAI A AOTEAROA I A AU, I TENEI RA KO AU TENEI KUA PUAWAI.
But as I embraced New Zealand, it embraced me back, and nurtured me into what I have become.
I TENEI RA,KA MINAMINA AU KI TE KII.. NOOKU ANO HOKI TENEI WHENUA, NOOKU HOKI TENEI TURANGAWAEWAE.
Today I can honestly identify myself as being a New Zealander, and Aotearoa being my home..
I love the symbolism of a Korean born MP, speaking in Maori, to explain how she has become a New Zealander.
The full speech is over the break.
Tags: maiden speech
, Melissa Lee
, Peseta Sam Lotu-liga
, The Standard