A young 21-year-old MP has made his first speech, which did not go unnoticed in the New Zealand Parliament. Hannah-Ruhiti Maeby-Clark highlighted her roots to advocate for Māori rights.
We knew the Haka on the rugby field, not in Parliament. This is the scene New Zealand MPs witnessed on December 12 with Hannah-Rohiti Maeby-Clark. She was elected last October, at the age of 21, and became the youngest representative in the country in 170 years.
In her emotional maiden speech, Hannah-Ruhiti Maybee-Clark promised her voters: “I would die for you… but I would also live with you.” “This government has attacked my world from all sides: our health, our environment, our water, our land, our natural resources, our Māori neighbourhoods, our language, our children, and my right, as well as yours, to be,” she said. In this country, according to our constitution.”
The young elected official criticizes Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his conservative government, which took power at the end of November 2023, for pursuing a “racist” policy towards the indigenous Maori people. In early December, thousands of people demonstrated in New Zealand to defend a treaty protecting indigenous people, to oppose the renaming of some areas from Māori to English, and to protest the closure of the Māori health authority called Te Aka y Ora. These marches were supported by the party to which the MP, Te Pati Māori, belongs.
As an introduction to her speech in the House, the young MP performed an emotional haka – a traditional dance performed to impress the opponent like the All Blacks do before every match – whose words were also taken up by part of the House.
Originally from a small town between Auckland and Hamilton, Hannah Rohiti Maebi Clarke runs a Maori community garden that educates children about gardening based on the lunar calendar.
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