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Horomia: Maori Under-19 Golf Championships

Hon Parekura Horomia

Minister of Mäori Affairs


28 April 2006 (1pm) Speech Notes


Address to the Prize Giving Ceremony of the 5th NZ Māori Under-19 Golf Championships - Ngāruawāhia Golf Club

Mihi

I was delighted to receive the invitation to this event because golf and the achievements of Māori in the sport inspire me enormously.

I am certain all of you here today will have heard or read the story Michael Campbell shared during his acceptance speech for the Supreme Award at the Māori Sports Awards late last year, but I want to share it with you again because it goes to the heart of what I hold dear – celebrating Māori success.

Of course, that was one award of many he has won, but one, which he himself said that night, was the award he was most proud of receiving.

Michael painted a picture for the audience of the press conference at his historic US Open win - there were sports journalists from all over the world - a room filled with more than 400 reporters.

When asked; "what makes you a champion?" Michael said he thought about it "for about 3 seconds" and replied: "Because I'm a Māori."

What a splendid moment for him, for his whānau, and for his Titahi Bay Club. What a proud moment too for all Māori golfers, Māori sports people and Māori people generally.

Michael is a wonderful role model for all young sports people in New Zealand but especially for our young Māori sports men and women.

I note that the New Zealand Māori Golf Association recognises this because your trophy for Men's Overall Gross carries his name. That is very apt.

Our elite Māori sports champions are at the tip of a very large pool of sporting potential. We LOVE to play sport!

In the 1990s the Hillary Sports Commission found that more Māori youth aged 5-17 years took part in some kind of sporting activity, than non-Māori - a fact little known by many New Zealanders, I think.

And while schools are a key venue for providing sporting opportunities, so too are memberships in clubs, and competitions. Māori adults were also more likely than non-Māori to be involved in sports as coaches, referees, and administrators and as parent helpers.

The Hillary Commission also found that golf was the third most popular sport for Māori - ahead of rugby! And I am sure golf is attracting more young Māori inspired by Michael Campbell as well because of organised efforts like this weeks 5th New Zealand Māori Under-19 Golf Championships.

Like many, if not all of you who participated in this tournament, Michael started early. With persistence, hard work and determination, he has achieved international successes. But then golf seems to breed achievement amongst our Māori youth.

More than 30 years ago, Frances Taumata, nee Pere of Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki Rongomaiwahine, became the New Zealand Māori Golf Ladies Champion in 1970 at the age of 16 years. In 1973 she captained the New Zealand Junior Team to Australia and in 1974 Frances took part in the Espirito Santo Women’s World Tournament. And at December last year, she was the only Māori Sports Award Hall of Fame inductee from the sport of golf!

I am certain that the qualities which enabled her and Michael to achieve their goals are ones that you who played this week possess - persistence, hard work and determination.

The very fact you are here and participated in this championship tournament, tells me, that you are serious about your golf, that you are keen to be the best you can be and that you have the support of your whānau, your clubs and the New Zealand Māori Golf Association to help you.

I am very pleased to be here with you today and I thank the Association, in particular Martin Te Moni the Junior Convenor, for the invitation. We need to continue supporting our young people and ensuring they have every opportunity to achieve their goals in whatever sporting endeavour they want to pursue.

I congratulate the organisers for putting this event together - keep it up! We need to ensure Māori lead active lives not only for their personal health and wellbeing, but also because active lifestyles have positive impacts on society and the economy.

I congratulate every young person who played in this tournament - I hope you enjoyed the competition and the camaraderie.

To the winners - well done! Enjoy the rewards of your efforts. Keep striving for higher and higher goals and one day in the future when you face a room filled with hundreds of international sporting journalists - don't forget - you are Māori!

Thank you.


ENDS

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