"I stand on the shoulders of those before me, wanting to use those values to improve the lives of families in Mana," Barbara Edmonds said in her maiden speech to Parliament on Wednesday evening.
The new Mana MP, who is a mother of eight, a specialist tax lawyer, and community fanatic said her upbringing was a classic Labour story, where she learned and embraced her Labour values.
"If a government could support low income parents, who worked hard so their children could have a better and more secure life, it was all right by me," she said.
Barbara Rachael Fati Palepa Edmonds is the great-granddaughter of a tama uli (black bird), an indentured labourer abducted from the Solomon Islands or New Guinea, to work as a slave in the copra fields of Samoa.
Her great-grandmother, Fati, whom she is named after, was a village midwife and nurse.
They had 19 children, one of which was Barbara's father Selani, the only one to receive a tertiary education before crossing the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand in 1976 with his wife and Barbara's two older sisters to give his family a better life.
Originally settling in Ponsonby, they then shifted to South Auckland where housing was more affordable, but Barbara's father wanted better for the family and put all their savings and Family Benefit into a deposit on Auckland's North Shore.
Two years later, her father was a widower after his wife got sick and passed away, with four children under 11 and was living on a benefit.
"Our family was never alone though. Like many Pacific migrant families, our house was the transit lounge for scores of family members as they arrived from Samoa, worked, saved money and moved on to set up their own houses.
"Most of my family worked at the plastics factory or the local hospital where they did the laundry, were the kitchen hands, cooks, cleaners or orderlies.
"While they were in the bowels of the kitchen, they sent me and my older two sisters to the decile 10 school right next door.
"I am the fruit of their struggle.
"This was a classic Labour story and this is where I learned my Labour values."
Barbara credits the opportunity of education, a fundamental tenet of the Labour Party when she was growing up as critical in giving her and her family choices.
Her father went back to study at the age of 48 to become a social worker and used the training incentive allowance to pay for his petrol to get to his lectures.
With the help of her family and husband Chris, Barbara herself completed a Law and Arts degree, starting out with no children, and by the time she finished five and a half years later, she had four children and was pregnant with their fifth, eventually having eight children.
"Like my father, my family depended on me. Failure was not an option. It was tough. Self-inflicted of course, but still tough."
Their financial situation only improved in 2006 when there was an increased Working for Families.
"We were one of those families whom the Helen Clark Labour Government assisted out of relative poverty and into a life of opportunities and choices.
"Now, here I am. Moulded and shaped by quintessential Labour values, saved from falling through the cracks as a child through the Labour policies of Michael Joseph Savage, Walter Nash, Norman Kirk and Helen Clark.
"At every difficult point in mine or my family's life it has been a Labour Government that has been our safety net.
"It is my turn to serve my community, the community of Mana, to promote and expand those values to ensure that these safety nets, opportunities and choices remain or are reinstated."
Calling Titahi Bay home since 2008, Barbara said, "Mana is an extremely diverse electorate both in geography and people".
The electorate covers from the northern parts of Tawa, Porirua, up to Raumati and southern parts of Paraparaumu.
Mana has the fifth-highest proportion of Pacific peoples, almost triple the national average and a fifth of the population are Māori.
"I am proud to be part of a Government that not only represents our communities more, but one that has Pacific, Māori and migrants at the table to help make those decisions so that our people are not left behind.
"For us members, we must now turn our values into policy and policy into action."
After thanking her family and campaign team Barbara concluded with a note to Mana.
"My commitment to you is that I will advocate with that same fighting spirit that is captured in my name, with the same humility and compassion my great-grandmother possessed as she helped care for the sick in her village.
"And with the tenacity to never give up no matter what life throws at you, as taught to me by my father.
"Because people don't want much … just someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for."