Tairawhiti rangatahi address the House

YOUNG PARLIAMENTARIAN: Teenagers from Tairawhiti addressed Parliament this week as part of the Youth Parliament. Materoa Rewiri (pictured) spoke about the “trivialisation” of mental health. Pictures supplied
Pounamu Wharehinga (pictured) questioned the Education Minister in Maori about how the Treaty of Waitangi gets factored into the schools curriculum.
Maia Ingoe

Gisborne youth parliamentarian Materoa Rewiri took a stand on mental health in her speech to the House this week as a member of the Youth Parliament during debate about a Sustainable Energy Bill.

The mock bill debated by the youth MPs from across the country was designed to mitigate the future impact of climate change.

Two other rangatahi from Gisborne, Pounamu Wharehinga and Maia Ingoe, joined Materoa at the Youth Parliament. Pounamu was an MP, and Maia was part of the youth press gallery during the two-day event.

A total of 120 youth MPs and 20 youth press gallery members gathered in Wellington for the Youth Parliament.

Materoa Rewiri was the senior English speech winner at this year’s Tairawhiti Nga Manu Korero Speech Regionals, her third consecutive year winning that category.

She is a waka ama paddler for the Mareikura Club and flew back from training in Tahiti for the Youth Parliament, then flew back to resume training.

Pounamu Wharehinga is the daughter of Gisborne district councillor Josh Wharehinga. She was MP Marama Davidson’s representative. Materoa was MP Kiri Allan’s representative.

Both girls go to Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga.​

Youth Minister Peeni Henare said Youth Parliament was about providing an opportunity for young New Zealanders to deepen their understanding of politics and the democratic process.

“It’s about inspiring our next generation of politicians and political journalists.”

Each Member of Parliament is asked to select a young person aged 16 to 18 years to represent them and their community at Youth Parliament 2019, as a Youth MP.

Youth press gallery members, aged between 16 and 24 years, were chosen by members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery to provide independent reporting of Youth MPs’ activities.

Gisborne youth parliamentarian Materoa Rewiri took a stand on mental health in her speech to the House this week as a member of the Youth Parliament during debate about a Sustainable Energy Bill.

The mock bill debated by the youth MPs from across the country was designed to mitigate the future impact of climate change.

Two other rangatahi from Gisborne, Pounamu Wharehinga and Maia Ingoe, joined Materoa at the Youth Parliament. Pounamu was an MP, and Maia was part of the youth press gallery during the two-day event.

A total of 120 youth MPs and 20 youth press gallery members gathered in Wellington for the Youth Parliament.

Materoa Rewiri was the senior English speech winner at this year’s Tairawhiti Nga Manu Korero Speech Regionals, her third consecutive year winning that category.

She is a waka ama paddler for the Mareikura Club and flew back from training in Tahiti for the Youth Parliament, then flew back to resume training.

Pounamu Wharehinga is the daughter of Gisborne district councillor Josh Wharehinga. She was MP Marama Davidson’s representative. Materoa was MP Kiri Allan’s representative.

Both girls go to Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga.​

Youth Minister Peeni Henare said Youth Parliament was about providing an opportunity for young New Zealanders to deepen their understanding of politics and the democratic process.

“It’s about inspiring our next generation of politicians and political journalists.”

Each Member of Parliament is asked to select a young person aged 16 to 18 years to represent them and their community at Youth Parliament 2019, as a Youth MP.

Youth press gallery members, aged between 16 and 24 years, were chosen by members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery to provide independent reporting of Youth MPs’ activities.

Mental health ‘more important’

At the Youth Parliament legislative debate, Youth MP for East Coast electorate, Materoa Rewiri, stood out from the key issues of climate change and economic poverty discussed.

While other Youth MPs argued that the Sustainable Energy bill needed to be stronger and ambitious action failed in the mock piece of legislation, Rewiri spoke out about mental health.

The Youth MP for Kiri Allan stated immediately that while she wholeheartedly supported protecting the planet, she could not support the bill.

In fact, she stood firmly against it.

Her reasons, to the surprise and confusion of many MPs, was that the bill did not address the key issues impacting her region.

This key issue affecting her region, she said, was mental health.

“I cannot support the bill while our largest issues of mental health and health in general are so trivialised, and I am sure it’s the case not just in my region.

“We know 666 lives were lost to suicide in the 2017 to 2018 year, and 142 of them were Maori,” she said.

“Which is more important?

“We have time to save the planet.

“But we do not have time to save the lives of our people!” Materoa said.

“I am here to voice the opinions of my region, of my people on this subject, and I speak for them.”

Over her six-month tenure as a Youth MP she has made her passion for mental health a prominent discussion point.

Now, in the debating chambers of Parliament in Wellington, she is bringing what she believes is important to her region to the forefront — even if it means claiming sustainable energy is a lesser issue.

The Sustainable Energy mock bill was put forward to mitigate climate change by lowering carbon emissions.

However, it is only a theoretical piece of legislation to be debated over at Youth Parliament.

A main point of the mock bill was that it set a target for New Zealand to reach 90 percent renewable energy by 2025, only a 6 percent increase from now.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Should the Gisborne District Council consider easing restrictions around freedom camping?​