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Notice of Motion: NZ Paralympic Team - Hon Tariana Turia


Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Tuesday 11 September 2012; 2pm

I am really delighted to share with every party in the House, the pride and the excitement that we have experienced over these last two weeks with the amazing success of the New Zealand team in the London 2012 Paralympics.

Yesterday as I landed at the Whakatane Airport, I arrived the same time as a reception was being extended to welcome home Ngāti Awa and Te Arawa mountain-bike superstar, Karen Hanlen. In reflecting on her meteoric climb to the London Olympics, she said her approach was built upon the philosophy that pain is temporary and pride is forever”.

It is a philosophy that every single one of the 24 New Zealand athletes who competed in the Paralympics have demonstrated in abundance.

These stars of many sports including cycling shooting, swimming and shotput, have shown the world that even when others might have said they couldn’t; the determination of these athletes has revealed that they could – and they are.

And in doing so, they have lifted our collective pride; they have shown us all what we are capable of if only we believe we can.

Our Paralympians are truly champions for they have persevered; they have withstood every challenge; and they have invested every moment of their lives into representing Aotearoa on the international sporting stage.

And in doing so they have shattered stereotypes and shifted perceptions. They have demonstrated that it is not the disability that defines them – it is the way they deal with the challenges that disability presents them with.

Within the disability sector we often talk about the aspiration to live a good life, an ordinary life; a life unburdened by the stigma and discrimination of a disabling society.

The New Zealand Paralympian squad goes that one step further, and reminds us that the only difference between the impossible and the possible lies in the spirit of determination.

There have been some truly remarkable achievements in London. The talents of Sophie Pascoe left us in no doubt of the power of having a dream. With Phillipa Gray, Mary Fisher, and Laura Thompson they weren’t content with the honour of a Gold Medal, they went on and won silver and bronze as well.

These are truly multi-performers.

The former Māori sportsperson of the Year, Cameron Leslie has not only earnt gold in the Olympic swimming pool, he’s also a member of the New Zealand Wheel blacks successful rugby squad.

Each of our twenty four stars – and each of their coaches, their managers, and their families around them – could teach us all about the power of positive thinking.

The Māori Party applauds and congratulates the New Zealand Paralympic Squad for their amazing success. Tēnā tātou katoa.


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