An Opening Parliamentary Address Like No Other

In her show-stopping first Parliament appearance, Maipi-Clarke, embodied the rich history of the indigenous people of New Zealand by performing the Māori haka.

21 year old Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke has made history by becoming the youngest Member of Parliament in New Zealand since 1853. She took the baton from Nanaia Mahuta to champion indigenous rights and alert the youth to their voice in politics.

Her path in politics bears the footsteps of her grandfather, Taitimu Maipi, who was a member of the Māori activist group, Nga Tamatoa. She is also the grand-niece of Hana Te Hemara who was an activist for the Māori language. They may have inspired her to keep the Māori culture alive. 

In her opening address to Parliament, Maipi-Clarke performed the Māori haka. Usually performed in groups, the haka is a rhythmic war dance which was made famous by the New Zealand rugby team. It is performed at various events to either celebrate major achievements or to welcome people. 

In part of her address, she declared, “We have arrived. We are here. We are sailing. We are navigating, just like our ancestors once did, in the biggest ocean in the world.” It was a proclamation of her commitment to being a guardian of Māori culture and knowledge to the youth of today.

Watch Maipi-Clarke performing the Haka here.