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2001 Mäori Sports and Cultural Awards

Hon Parekura Horomia
13 October 2001, 7pm Speech

Turanganui A Kiwa 2001 Mäori Sports and Cultural Awards

Kia ora koutou katoa. Nga mihi nui hoki ki a koutou ko Api Mahuika, Stan Pardoe, Toko & Rawinia Te Kani, Temple Isaacs, Darcy & Bebe Ria, Taranaki Paratene, Rii Mita and Michael Brown, Buck Shelford, Libby Kerr and Rewiti Ropiha.

Thank you for the opportunity to address you this evening. Occasions like tonight, the Turanganui A Kiwa Mäori Sports and Cultural Awards, acknowledges the achievements of local Mäori sports people, men and women, young and old, individuals and teams. These functions celebrate Mäori sport with whanau, friends and the community. They generate a common following amongst whanau, hapu and iwi.

I stand before you as the Minister of Mäori Affairs and as you all know a former East Coast Rugby player. I know the mana, the agony, the pride and the pain of representing Te Tairawhiti in sport. Most of us will get a taste of it tomorrow when East Coast Ngati Porou play Nelson Bays tomorrow in Ruatoria

I know Joe McClutchie watched my performance in last Saturday’s match for the Parliamentarians rugby side. I look forward to Joe handing me the East Coast jersey if Orcades is unavailable! Let me assure you that I can catch the ball in spite of recent photos that have appeared on TV, the Internet, the newspaper and even t-shirts.

Seriously though the benefits from sports can be immense. Look at the success of the Ngati Porou East Coast rugby team, who has been nominated for the sports team award tonight. They have had a tremendously positive effect on our region. We are inspired by their success, proud to be Ngati, proud to be from the Coast. Communities are talking positively about the future.

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It is important for us to harness the positivity generated through sport, and use it to spur positive development in the economic, social and cultural areas of the Tairawhiti rohe. Sport has lifted the wairua of our rohe, provided direction and purpose. Sport has the capacity to teach lessons of endeavour, of winning and of losing. It has the capacity to build confidence and self-esteem, to challenge, inspire and entertain.

There are also now professional careers in sport, which is great news for Maori. Sport is an area that we are naturally good at. Our sense of balance and rhythm, eye hand coordination and competitiveness will be valuable attributes in many sports.

Look at the money earned by Tiger Woods, the Williams sisters and Jonah. But there are Maori at that level too like Winton Rufer, Michael Campbell, Michael Walker, Karl Tenana in Sevens and Henare Ngata in Soccer.

But there are many people at the next level. I want to encourage all of tonight’s individual sports nominees to consider applying for the scholarships for excellence. The athletes scholarships are worth up to $10 thousand and assist the young sportspeople towards their sporting and educational goals. Chrystal Karaka, a nominee for the Maori Sportswoman’s award was a recipient of one of those scholarships.

But I also want to urge Maori to consider other sports related careers. Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced $1 million worth of scholarships for elite coaches (That could be you Joe). Waimarama Taumaunu is a professional administrator in England, Buck Shelford (who is here tonight ) is a professional coach. There are also careers in management, administration, physiotherapy, masseur, personal trainers as well as many other areas.

In saying that we have to remember that sport has a limitless capacity to provide endless hours of fun and enjoyment. It is humbling to be here this evening amongst Mäori who are committed to sport and the limitless opportunities it brings.

Good luck to all of the nominees. For tomorrow, go Ngati Porou East Coast. Tena koutou katoa


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