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Turia’s ‘Voices Against Violence’ Address

Turia’s ‘Voices Against Violence’ Address

Tena koutou e nga iwi e huihui nei i tenei ra.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this reception in honour of YWCA Week Without Violence. Actually, it’s an honour to host you all. This is an issue I strongly support, and I am proud to acknowledge your efforts and commitment to non-violence.

Some of you have encountered physical violence in your work with victims of domestic violence, rape or child abuse. Others deal with violence of different kinds – racism, harassment, bullying and hate crimes, institutional, psychological, and verbal violence.

As we meet today, war clouds are gathering in the middle east, and bombings are a feature of our daily news. It is encouraging to remember that, during this week in particular, the voices of women, children and men, all around the world, are united in opposition to violence.

I have been very pleased to see a group of young people in Parliament, monitoring the behaviour of MPs. I hope they survive the experience without being emotionally scarred for life!

Because ours is an adversarial system of government. It’s a paradox that combat is structured into the way our citizens look after each other.

This tikanga affects the behaviour of MPs. It can be difficult to co-operate across party lines, for example, as Maori MPs representing the interests of tangata whenua. It can be difficult to maintain our own tikanga in this environment.

That’s why occasions such as this are important.

I want now to welcome Mereana Pitman, an old friend and colleague, who is the real speaker for today. Kia ora Mereana, nau mai, haere mai.

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