Adrian Rurawhe takes up Speaker role

By Whatitiri Te Wake

Parliament's debating chamber erupted in the melodious tunes of Te Hāhi Rātana today as Adrian Rurawhe, the great-grandson of Rātana Church founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, was officially voted in, unchallenged as the 31st Speaker of the House of Representatives and the second Māori to take up the role.

His whānau says his appointment is also sanctioned by the Rātana faith. Its founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Ratana was known as 'te māngai' - today Rurawhe was made 'te māngai' of Parliament.

"E mau ana a Adrian i ngā kaupapa e rua i waiho mai to mātou tūpuna a TW Rātana. Aroha ki te tangata, kia tau te rangimārie."

"Adrian carries with him the words of advice left to us by TW Rātana. Have love for each other and be peaceful," Piri Rurawhe says.

His new role got off to a shaky start when he had to reprimand a member for not sticking to the kaupapa.

But party leaders today all stood to deliver their congratulatory speeches to the Speaker.

Rurawhe officially takes up his new role.

Sharma pulled up

Meanwhile, newly-made-independent MP Gaurav Sharma took the opportunity to speak of his experience, taking his grievances to former Speaker Trevor Mallard.

“Two weeks ago I contacted the former speaker and I went to talk to him about some of the issues I was having and whether I could get legal support in my case.”

Sharma was quickly pulled up by Rurawhe.

"You’re raising issues that this House is not dealing with," he said.

In his pōwhiri Rurawhe vowed to implement kaupapa Māori across Parliament.

“What point would it be to have a Māori in that role and not bring kaupapa Māori?”

'We could feel the change'

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi, who had several run-ins with the former Speaker seemed pleased with the new Speaker.

“Kaupapa Māori like rangatiratanga, manaakitanga and aroha and the way we express ourselves is equally important."

I tēnei rā tonu nānā i kīia hoki nei e pīrangi nei ia kia whakatō mai ngā tīkanga Māori ki roto i te whare, a kātahi anō mātou ka mihia te tangata nei a ka tū au ki te waerea, ki te whakamoemiti hoki i mua noa atu i te whakaotinga o ngā mahi i tēneri rā. Kāore ia mō te kī me tau ki raro, kāore ia mō te kī e puta ki waho. Nō reira kua kitea e mātou kua tīni te wairua o te whare i tēnei rā.

"Well, just today he said that he would like to embed tikanga Māori in the House. We'd just finished the welcome where I recited a traditional chant before we adjourned for the day. He neither said to stop nor get out, so we could feel the change in the House today."