Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

'Time to make our own mark'

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Waiariki MP and Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has enjoyed a short holiday at his family home in Ngongotaha. Photo / Andrew Warner
Waiariki MP and Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has enjoyed a short holiday at his family home in Ngongotaha. Photo / Andrew Warner

After a busy year as co-leader of the Maori Party and as Maori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell says he's finally coming to grips with his new positions and will be spending more time in his Waiariki electorate and the people who put him in Parliament.

He told the Rotorua Daily Post he's enjoyed being home over the holiday break.

"We've just stuck around home really, we haven't been anywhere and now we're heading up the coast for a while to Hicks Bay. It's been good to just chill out here with so many people out and about and after all the travelling it's nice to be home," he said.

Parliament finished about December 10, but he didn't really get time to stop and take stock until around the 20th.

"It's been a huge learning experience being a minister and I'm still learning about the demands that come with the position. There's a huge difference being a minister and an electorate MP.

"We consolidated during the year and this year I'd like to start cranking some of the stuff out we have been working on last year. We've been dealing with elements of legacy left by Pita [Sharples] and Tariana [Turia] and now it's time to make our own mark."

He said contrary to what others had said in the past, being a minister took people away from their electorates, which was not always a good thing.

"I'm lucky I've got a great staff and people in my office who help look after issues locally. So I want to head back to the electorate this year. So much hinges on Waiariki for the Maori Party, I have to win Waiariki to sustain the party."

He said his priorities for the year were whenua (land), whare (homes) and whanau (family).

"Issues around housing cross the whole gambit. And if there are iwi and other social services like the Salvation Army who are keen to help in that area I think we need to encourage them. And if I can throw another one in there - whakapapa - and cultural revitalisation. Especially around language development, which is hugely important for the Maori Party, and building on the success stories we have achieved. We can't do everything, but we want to play a bigger role in all of society."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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