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New Zealand's Young Politician creates tremors in Parliament

Saturday, January 6, 2024 • Tamil Comments
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The viral video capturing Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke's historic maiden speech in December 2023, as New Zealand's youngest MP in 170 years, has captivated social media. In her powerful address, the 21-year-old, representing the Maori - New Zealand's indigenous people, pledged unwavering commitment to her constituents, declaring, "I will die for you... but I will [also] live for you."

Dedicating the speech to all tamariki Māori, Maipi-Clarke expressed a sense of déjà vu, having delivered a similar speech on the steps of Parliament the previous year, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Te Petihana. However, this time, her focus was on the future, dedicated to the well-being of all children.

Aotearoa’s youngest MP since 1853, Maipi-Clarke emerged victorious in the October elections, unseating Nanaia Mahuta, who had held the seat since its inception in 2008. Addressing marginalized Māori youth, she encouraged them to embrace their unique identity and native language, extending a warm invitation to explore their cultural roots.

"Never fit in. You are perfect. You are the perfect fit," she passionately declared.

The young politician's family history in politics is rich, tracing back to her great-great-great-great-grandfather Wiremu Katene, the first Maori minister to the Crown in 1872. Her aunt, Hana Te Hemara, played a significant role in presenting the Māori language petition to the New Zealand Parliament in 1972. In 2018, her grandfather, Taitimu Maipi, garnered national attention for protesting Hamilton's colonial legacy by vandalizing a statue of Captain John Hamilton.

Hailing from Huntly, Maipi-Clarke manages a Māori community garden, educating local children about gardening based on the Māori lunar calendar, maramataka. She authored a book advocating for young people to connect with the stars and the moon for personal healing.

Beyond her parliamentary role, Maipi-Clarke fervently advocates for the rights of native communities, leaving an indelible mark on the political landscape of New Zealand.

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