Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Public Memorial Service for David Lange Address

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Address at Public Memorial Service for David Lange


Ericsson Stadium
Auckland

11.10 am


Saturday 20 August 2005

Over the past week letters of tribute to David Lange have poured into my office from around the world.

Leaders in the Pacific especially regarded David as a true friend who understood their aspirations.

Others with whom he’d crossed swords respected his passion and powers of advocacy.

David was quite simply an extraordinary New Zealander.

He put our country on the map and gave us great pride in being New Zealanders.

His vision saw our small country stand up for big ideas and for values critical to the survival of humankind.

Yet much as he rubbed shoulders with the world’s elites and our own, my sense is that David was always happiest back home in Mangere, close to Otahuhu where he grew up.

He identified with what became Manukau City – and with the multicultural society it became with the waves of Maori migration from rural New Zealand after the war and the peoples of the Pacific from the 1950s and ‘60s on.

David maintained friendships across many communities. His great love of India is well known, and he was held in great respect there; as he was among the Indian community here in Auckland, which only a few weeks ago awarded him life membership of its association for his friendship.

David came to politics from the law, where he had established his reputation as a powerful advocate for marginalised people.

His plea in mitigation, based on quick mastery of a brief, was legendary – and his ability to master complex detail and develop and articulate a case on his feet served him well in politics too.

His wit was legendary – and he took as much delight in applying it to himself as to anyone else. We all have our favourite stories – like David as a big man getting into a lift by himself on a trip to Japan, and claiming that an automated voice demanded, “Would one of you please get out.”

Even in these last few especially difficult weeks with failing health, that ability to laugh and see the ironic side of even the most desperate situation never appeared to leave him.

Indeed his courage during what was clearly great suffering was truly inspirational.

For so many reasons, today’s service must be a celebration of David’s life.

He himself touched the lives of so many – as a lawyer, as a local Member of Parliament, as Prime Minister, and as one concerned about his fellow human beings.

David hated injustice – he would go to considerable lengths to see that ordinary people up against the system got a fair go.

David spent five of his 63 years as Prime Minister, and close to a third of his life as Member of Parliament. It is on these years that the public record and commentary focuses. They were often difficult years, but the many high points were there, along with the lows.

Today we celebrate the highs, the pride, the elation of David at the peak of his powers – winning in 1984, taking the country with him to Oxford Union; and we celebrate the big man with the big voice, the big heart and the common touch.

Few have the opportunity to lead their country, and even fewer are memorable. David Lange will go down in history as a truly memorable Prime Minister.

He was an outstanding New Zealander who was proud of his country and proud to serve it.

I want to say to David’s family that many New Zealanders share your pride in him, and know that our country is the better for David’s contribution.

We share your sorrow at this sad time.

We share a deep sense of regret that his years among us were too short.

We know we will not see his like again.

May he rest in peace.


END

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news