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Gala Evening : Maori Documentary Film Evening

'Tuaiwa Hautai Rickard'

Gala Evening : Maori Documentary Film Evening

Wellington High School, Wellington

Rahui Katene, Candidate for Te Tai Tonga

Thursday 30 October 2008

When I was selected to take on the Te Tai Tonga seat, just three action-packed months ago, my very first release spoke about the possibility of change which I was so inspired by, through the amazing energy of my father, John Hippolite, and his cousin, Aunty Eva Rickard.

I spoke, knowing that they would be cheering me and Angeline Greensill (the up and coming MP for Hauraki Waikato) on from the tupuna grandstands.

And so it is only right, as we come to prepare for the shout of victory in these last eight days, that I chose to return again, to the legacy of all those who have paved the way for me to be here.

I think of the producer and director of this film, Tama Poata who was a very close friend of my father.

And I think, of our dear friend Monte Ohia, and the charismatic call of his message to us all, to make this moment ours.

This film has come just at the right time, for me, for us.

It is a film full of love, of flamboyant flowing dresses, of fighting talk, of activism and energy, of courage, and always, as my aunty said, "we do mean business and we are serious about it".

Tuaiwa Hautai Rickard tells the story of a woman that former Governor-General, Sir Paul Reeves, described as "having changed the perception of the whole country".

She changed the country by always being brave enough to pause - to say, 'just a minute' - to ask the hard questions, to be fuelled by something which kept driving her on.

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The story is told through the journey of Aunty Eva receiving the moko. She asked questions even then - when she was told she had earnt it, she said….just a minute, "you live the moko".

Aunty Eva lived the moko right through her life.

She fought for her land, she fought to preserve the memory of her elders, to honour her heritage.

And she did it all with such style.

She had the confidence to laugh at her days of high heels and flashy hats.

She always had time for the mokopuna; to sing a song, 'what's the Treaty Nana?'

She loved the land, she was passionate and proud to live in the Independent State of Whaingaroa.

And she knew, like we know, our greatest strength lies in people power.

Aunty Eva used to say, I just need twelve people, with the heart and the will to work.

The Maori Party has told us, they just need seven people, this year……but the rest are waiting in the wings.

Tuaiwa Hautai Rickard lives on in Angeline, in her daughter Hautai, in me. She lives on in our hearts, in our dreams, in our ambitions.

Towards the end of the film, there is a bit of footage of my Dad, reflecting that in his pursuit of justice, there was no doubt that he and the other freedom fighters of his time, had the desire, the will, the ability to achieve anything.

But there was one area lacking - and that was in resources.

We must heed the challenge of the leaders of our time.

The sacrifices of the people; the struggles they endured; the impact of our ancestry must guide us forward - to the 8th November and beyond.

We must have a vision which is, as Aunty Eva said, all about healing the nation.

We must be strong in our resolve that we can make a difference.

We can do it - party vote and electorate vote - we can be the change we most desire in this world.

We have all the resources we need in this room right now.

A tonne of passion; truckloads of commitment; masses of human resources just brimming full of energy and enthusiasm and will.

So here's what we'll do.

All we need in the next eight days is for you to give yourself a day to deliver pamphlets, to knock on doors, to stand on corners waving your flags, to drive the streets spreading the word for you, for the Maori Party.

We are all on a journey to build the society we want our mokopuna to inherit.

We must make it happen. We must do whatever it takes to take all seven on the eighth.

Aunty Eva will never let me forget her enduring call to the people

Kua tae ma te wa

When you watch the film tonight you will see a big sculpture unveiled, which wears the shankles of a big heavy chain, locked with a padlock.

This key that I wear around my neck unlocks the padlock. It was given to my Dad as one of seventeen that Aunty Eva gave to all of those who were arrested with you, when they occupied the land in 1978.

We all need to unlock the shankles of the past. We need to unlock the shankles of a narrow vision.

We need to be looking to a future where we can live up to our expectations. Let's live out our desires. This is the vision. Let's go for it.


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