New Ōtaki MP Terisa Ngobi delivered her maiden speech in Parliament last night, promising to work hard for the Ōtaki electorate and pursue the election promises she made during her campaign.
"I will seek better access to health services, transportation, continue to support our commitment to a four lane highway to Levin and add value where I can to reducing poverty and inequalities."
Speaking of her upbringing, Terisa shared her Pasifika and Scottish heritage and how she did not fit neatly into the palagi world or the Samoan world.
Shaped by her Labour and union strong upbringing, Terisa credited her parents for always believing in her and encouraging her to walk proudly as both an indigenous Pasifika and Scottish wahine warrior.
"Regardless of the colour of our skin, our gender, our age, who we love, how much money we may or may not have or our level of education – in our household we knew we had a voice, that it was valid and that we were worthy too.
"There is a natural alignment with my personal values and those of the Labour Party whom I am humbled and honoured to represent as the member for Ōtaki.
"The Labour Party supports diversity, ensures the rights of workers, and wants all New Zealanders to live their best lives, as do I."
Terisa credited the Provincial Growth Fund for supporting a number of projects in the community but said while this was a great start, there was much more to be done.
The fund has supported the Foxton River Loop, Taraika, Ōtaki Māoriland Film Festival, Waikanae river ways and Paraparaumu Gateway Project.
"This is a great start however there is so much more that still needs to be done to improve outcomes for the people of Ōtaki.
"Our region has examples of innovation and green projects such as the Energize Ōtaki Solar Farm, yet just a short drive to Levin, Lake Horowhenua is highly polluted.
"This highlights that there is still much work to be done to protect and restore our environment."
Terisa highlights youth, transportation infrastructure and access to hospital level service within the electorate as key areas of priority to address with her government colleagues for the people of the Ōtaki electorate.
"The Ōtaki electorate has the oldest population in New Zealand.
"It ranks first among general electorates on several age-related issues.
"There is no hospital in this electorate nor is there public transport to get to either Palmerston North or Wellington Hospitals as our regular rail stops at Waikanae.
"From Waikanae north we have one train that does one trip once a day except for the weekends.
"It is also set at around $30 per round trip.
"This is unaffordable for many students, low income families and seniors."
More support and resources are needed to tackle the high rates of family violence, the lack of affordable housing and deep deprivation which Terisa said is especially present in the northern part of the electorate.
"Much more still needs to be done to ensure the wellbeing and living standards of all New Zealanders are raised.
"In my time in this house I will be working tirelessly to progress this mahi."
Addressing her supporters, Terisa said, "They say it takes a village – our village is proof of this."
A mum to three young boys, support came from many places during her campaign.
A heart felt thank you was given to Terisa's husband Henry and their three boys Azaria, Vito and Tebasawa.
"Henry, you are the kindest, most humble and genuine man I will ever know.
"You're an amazing role model to our babies.
"Boys, I know this is a big change in our lives with me not being home as much.
"I hope one day that you will understand that Daddy and I are doing this so that the world you and your friends grow up in will be a better, fairer place.
"This is me being the best mum I can be, ensuring the decisions made gives you boys the best chance in life."
Terisa is the first Labour MP to win the Ōtaki seat since 2008, beating National candidate Tim Costley by 3000 votes.