All 41 new MPs elected in October have now delivered their maiden speeches in Parliament with the last five given last week. Audrey Young picks her top 10 and explains what has changed about maiden speeches.
One MP mentioned James Bond in his maiden speech, others mentioned MacGyver, Muhammad Ali, Billy Bragg, Queen Victoria, Pol Pot, Ronaldo, Apirana Ngata, Marilyn Waring and Helen Kelly.
Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins got the most mentions but they don't count. It would be career-limiting for a new MP not to mention the party's leader in his or her maiden speech.
The class of 2020 from the October election was a stunning intake of new MPs not just in terms of their numbers, but in ethnic diversity, depth of qualifications many hold, and their life stories before entering politics.
Some speeches brought the chamber to tears, such as Ibrahim Omer's inspiring story of survival as a young man in Eritrea, and in some cases it was the MPs' support group that reinforced the impact of the speech, in particular the Pātea originals singing Poi E after Debbie Ngarewa-Packer's speech.
Teanau Tuiono and Elizabeth Kerekere used humour to make their points.
MPs agonise over maiden speeches because they are an important reference point throughout their careers for their backstories, core beliefs, motivations and goals.
Maiden speeches have changed, however, probably because of MMP. They used to focus more on the electorate. But the advent of MMP and list MPs without electorates has meant a greater focus on the person, and with it their family story.
Some have famous connections, such as Nicola Grigg who is a direct descendant of Sir John Hall, Premier of New Zealand from 1879 to 1882, and National's first woman MP, Mary Grigg. She delivered her speech wearing a cloak given to her family and which is kept at Te Papa.
Anna Lorck was inspired by a Labour-loving granny who used to make sponge cakes for raffles in Waipukurau.
Many related stories of migration and incredible sacrifices by their parents such as Mana's Barbara Edmonds whose mother died when she was aged 5, or the life Gaurav Sharma's father led to bring him and his mother over from India.
Some spoke of their childhood trauma of bullying or rejection; none more eloquently than Karen Chhour.
The stellar careers of some new MPs before politics was evident in speeches by former environmental lawyer Rachel Brooking, former Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon, former community worker Glen Bennett and former lawyer Emily Henderson.
Most MPs promoted their electorates as though they were travel agents.
But some took a less saccharine view, such as Terisa Ngobi in Ōtaki, who set out the problem of having the oldest population in the country in an area without a hospital or adequate public transport and made a commitment to try to rectify it.
Four MPs talked about relatives who were once political prisoners, two in New Zealand and two abroad.
Upper Harbour MP Vanushi Walters and list MP Ayesha Verrall talked about relatives abroad who had been imprisoned, and Takanini MP Anae Neru Leavasa and Ngarewa-Packer talked about imprisonment in New Zealand.
Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi used his speech to prosecute his case to get rid of neck-ties with dramatic effect – the dress code was changed very recently – but every MP's speech was a revelation about the MP giving it.
Some were not particularly well delivered, such as Mark Cameron's and Joseph Mooney's, but they still made an impact because of what they said and the conviction behind their words.
Links to all of the maiden speeches in written and video form are listed below the Top 10 and grouped according to party. But in terms of impact, these are my selections for the best:
1. Rawiri Waititi, Māori Party, Wairiki
Humour, pathos, commitment, drama - a speech that had it all.
2. Ibrahim Omer, Labour list
Incredible life-story told in a way that brings a lump to the throat.
3. Karen Chhour, Act list
Inspirational story of courage, surviving and thriving.
4. Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, Māori Party, list
Spine-chilling speech and waiata to follow.
5. Elizabeth Kerekere, Green, list
Nothing short of a spectacle - and launched a member's bill as well.
6. Emily Henderson, Labour Whangārei
Accomplished speech of someone who looks like she was born to it.
7. Mark Cameron, Act, list
Intense and passionate treatise on farmers and farming.
8. Ayesha Verrall, Labour, list
Showed why she has been promoted directly into Cabinet.
9. Terisa Ngobi, Labour, Ōtaki
Wonderful weaving together of personal, political and electorate backstory.
10. Joseph Mooney, National, Southland
Full of surprises, from the personal effects of Rogernomics to opining about foreign policy.
See extracts of all the MPs' speeches below and whom they namechecked. Within each party, they are listed alphabetically.
Labour - 23 maidens
Māori Party - 2
Camilla Belich, Labour, list
Belich stood in Epsom but was elected at No 30 on the Labour list. She is a former union lawyer, practising in England and Wales until returning to New Zealand in 2016. She and husband Andrew Kirton were elected co-presidents of NZUSA in 2005. In her maiden speech, she spoke for a large amount of time in Māori, which she learned at a young age from her father, Colin Feslier, and kohanga reo. Sometimes referred to as the daughter of historian James Belich, he is, in fact, her uncle. Had a baby over the summer.
Namechecks include: Michael Joseph Savage, Walter Nash, Norm Kirk, Helen Kelly, Helen Clark, Fleur Fitzsimons, Kristine Bartlett, John Ryall, Peter Cranney.
QUOTE: "I'm a descendant of dressmakers, sailors, tailors, domestic servants, bricklayers, gum diggers, typists, factory workers, quarry workers, State servants, writers and farmers. I am proud of their work. I was taught from a young age to always respect the dignity and the rights of labour, and that a job worth doing is a job worth having."
Glen Bennett, Labour, New Plymouth
Bennett turned a 7733 majority for National in 2017 to a 2555 majority for Labour in one of the election's big surprises. He has been a community worker and foster parent for many years, the son of dedicated Salvation Army community workers. The day before his maiden speech, he married partner Jon O'Neill in Parliament's ceremonial Legislative Council Chamber.
Namechecks include: Marie Ardern, Lilla Watson, David Lange, Louisa Wall, Harry Duynhoven.
QUOTE: "Take aside the timbrels and the tubas…there were the unique experiences that my parents gave me: the drunk who spent a few nights sleeping in our garage sobering up, the family from overseas who had experienced trauma and were staying with us, and the skinhead having lunch with us for his birthday as well as the countless prison girls that came and went from our home."
Rachel Boyack, Labour, Nelson
Boyack is the first Labour MP to have won the seat since MMP began in 1996, unseating National's Nick Smith. She worked for six years as a union organiser for First Union and was health and safety coordinator for the Anglican Diocese of Nelson. Also chaired Labour's policy council in 2020. A committed Christian.
Namechecks include: Nick Smith, Sonja Davies, John Blincoe, Helen Kelly, Jenny Wells, Maryan Street, Kate Reilly, David Do, Harvey Ruru
QUOTE: "The introduction of the Employment Contracts Act has been one of the key drivers behind inequality in Aotearoa. My generation and those who came after me have mostly missed out on the experience and benefits of an organised workplace and higher wages and conditions that come with that."
Rachel Brooking, Labour, list
A Dunedin-based environmental law specialist, Brooking was a member of the Randerson review of the Resource Management Act. Her first job 20 years ago was with the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Has also held directorships in retail and travel companies.
Namechecks include: Hōne Heke, Princess Te Puea, John Angus
QUOTE: "There is often resistance to decarbonise with the cries of 'we in New Zealand are so small. We can't make a difference.' Tell that to the suffragettes, to the proponents of nuclear-free New Zealand, to the elderly, immune compromised and healthcare workers who stood to face the heaviest weight of the wrecking ball of Covid-19."
Naisi Chen, Labour, list
Chen is the only Chinese MP in the current Parliament and, with Chloe Swarbrick, is also the youngest MP at the age of 26. She was born in Beijing and arrived in New Zealand aged 5 in 1999. She said her father had a soul that had always longed for freedom and New Zealand was his "perfect little country". She contested the 2017 election in East Coast Bays and Botany in 2020 and got in at No 38 on the Labour list.
Namechecks include: Appo Hocton, Raymond Huo, Helen Clark
QUOTE: "Growing up in New Zealand as a young migrant was a bit like a social experiment. I was trying to balance the stereotypical Asian piano-practising and the good math grades — for those who know me, that's a joke — against the really Kiwi side of always disappointing my mum when I came home barefoot and with no books in my bag, and all the while often playing translator for my parents, as well, in dealings with our landlord, utility companies and at parent-teacher interviews."
Barbara Edmonds, Labour, Mana
One of Labour's new superstars, Edmonds replaced Kris Faafoi who went on Labour's list. She is a tax law specialist and worked as an adviser for Judith Collins and Stuart Nash as Revenue Ministers. She and her husband Chris have eight children: Acacia, Arkaid, Agape, Patience, Prayer, Salem, Yahzel and Harmony. Her speech tells her family's story of emigration from Samoa in 1976 and what happened after her mother died when Edmonds was 5.
Namechecks include: Graham Kelly, Winnie Laban, Kris Faafoi, Helen Clark, Walter Nash, Michael Joseph Savage, Peter Fraser, Norm Kirk.
QUOTE: "We had 24 people living in our house at one time, but there were always beds because as the night shift went out, the day shift came home. Most of my family worked at the plastics factory or the hospital, where they did the laundry, were the kitchen hands, the cooks, the cleaners, or the orderlies. While they were in the bowels of the kitchen, they sent me and my siblings to the decile 10 school right next door."
Shanan Halbert, Labour, Northcote
Halbert beat National's Dan Bidois in Northcote, which has not been held by Labour since the 2002 election. Halbert had unsuccessfully stood against Bidois in the 2018 byelection. He talked about his parents, a Māori father and Pākehā mother, and how they had shaped his values. His father, a former soldier, freezing worker and te reo teacher, had been diagnosed with cancer in October last year but promised to be with him until election day.
Namechecks include: Hiraka Te Rango, Rudy Taylor, Kelvin Davis, Ann Hartley, Marilyn Waring, John Marsland, Bella Powell.
QUOTE: " My family didn't have much money, but what they did have was a whole lot of love. My Mum was the main breadwinner. She worked at the local fish and chip shop, she picked fruit, she worked at St Joseph's Māori Girls' College, and for the past 20 years as a checkout operator at Napier Pak'nSave. She worked tirelessly for her employers, despite the long hours and demands of raising a family. She is my example of why we should all support our essential workers."
Emily Henderson, Labour, Whangārei
One of the biggest upsets of the election, first-time candidate Henderson beat Shane Reti in the seat, which has been held by National since 1975. Raised in Whangārei, she was a lawyer in the city, specialising in family law. She got a Master's degree at Auckland University and a PhD at Cambridge University and was the Law Foundation's International Research Fellow in 2012.
Namechecks include: Rudy Taylor, Norman Kirk
QUOTE: "I remember the Whangārei I grew up in. It isn't the Whangārei in which my kids grow up. Like the rest of Te Tai Tokerau, Whangārei has never been wealthy, but over the past 40 years we have [become] progressively poorer until, in fact, we bump along the bottom of the bad end of just about every set of statistics going."
Ingrid Leary, Labour, Taieri
Leary moved to Dunedin to seek Labour's selection in the reconfigured Dunedin South seat of Taieri after Clare Curran announced her retirement - and she won it resoundingly by more than 12,000. She has an honours degree in law from Otago. She is a former broadcast journalist and tutor, former a press secretary to Maurice Williamson, and was director of the British Council in New Zealand. When being sworn in, she read her oath in Rotuman to mark the fact that two of her children are of Rotuman heritage.
Namechecks include: Marcus Lush, Michael Joseph Savage, George Gwaze, Helen Clark, Clare Curran, Michael Cullen, Stan Rodger.
QUOTE: "You would be hard pressed to find an electorate with more soft toys peering out their windows than Taieri, and many remain to this day. Not only do we have the most teddy bears, we also have the largest ones. Created from hay-bales by the tireless farmers who kept New Zealand fed during the lockdowns, those kaitiaki watch over State Highway 1 between Milton and Balclutha, and that says something about our big, generous, caring, southern hearts."
Anae Neru Leavasa, Labour, Takanini
A South Auckland doctor, Leavasa won the new electorate of Takanini. He talked about his Samoan heritage, how his great grandfather Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, who had been one of the leaders of the Mau Movement, was brought to Mt Eden prison in 1928 as a political prisoner. He also talked about his own battle with knee cancer, which spread to one of his lungs, when he was a student at Auckland Grammar.
Namechecks include: Patsy Reddy, Ihaka Takaanini, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II
QUOTE: "I dare to say: live a life that is not normal. Step out of your comfort zone, push the limits, shift your mindset and shift your future. I think about the huge amount of talent we have in South Auckland: our youth who aspire to do great things such as I did, despite what barriers we have in front of us. South Auckland is my home. It has shaped me; it has inspired me. The media often misrepresents us. Yes, we have our own issues, but we do have our own solutions. We have our own flavour. We will continue to shine; we will continue to rise."
Steph Lewis, Labour, Whanganui
In her second bid for the seat, Lewis secured a majority of 8191. Her earliest memory was of prisoners escaping into the family's back yard – her father was a prison officer at Kaitoke. She also talked about the broken dreams of her parents, how it affects the family's fortunes and her outlook on life.
Namechecks include: Helen Clark, Adela Stiles, Rae Karipa, Lia Tuffield, Tara McIlroy, Sue Marr, Bronwyn Bullock, Jenny Shaw, Doug Davidson, Jason Tamm, Russell Marshall, Jill Pettis, Hamish McDouall, Chester Borrows, Harete Hipango.
QUOTE: "I haven't shared my story today to seek pity. I'm not claiming to have grown up in severe poverty. There were hard times, but there were good times full of love and laughter. I have shared my story so that those listening today know that I understand what it means to have to choose between paying for food or petrol or power. It is exhausting having to fight every day to survive. My hope, though, is that in this House it doesn't always have to be a fight, and that we can work together to put people first. I fought my way through and so can you."
Anna Lorck, Labour, Tukituki
After her third attempt at the seat, Lorck beat first-term National MP and former mayor Laurence Yule in Tukituki by 1590 votes. She was elected to the region's district health board last year. She grew up in Waipukurau where her granny had been secretary of the Labour Party branch. After being called mediocre at school, she decided against university and became a local cadet reporter. She qualified later and moved to public relations.
Namechecks include: Stuart Nash, Meka Whaitiri, Kieran McAnulty, Malcolm Dixon
QUOTE: "I will work as hard as a I can to represent the people of Hastings and Tukituki….I hope to demonstrate as the first student from Central Hawke's Bay College to be elected to New Zealand's Parliament that my reputation and record will stand as a hard-working constituent MP who is far from mediocre."
Terisa Ngobi, Labour, Ōtaki
Ngobi won the seat vacated by National's Nathan Guy. Born and raised in Levin by parents with Scots and Samoan heritage, her parents had strong ties to Labour and unions and emphasis on community service. She has worked as a contract manager at Oranga Tamariki and recently as case manager at Work and Income. She spoke about the lack of hospital level service and public transport in her electorate, which has the oldest population in NZ.
Namechecks include: Mark Gosche, Winnie Laban, Carmel Sepuloni, Nanaia Mahuta, Grant Robertson.
QUOTE: "As a mixed-race Pasifika Scotswoman, I don't fit neatly into the Pālagi world or the Scottish world. I first noticed this when I was about age 9. The kids at school used to call me 'Bounty Bar'—which happens to be one of my favourite chocolates, by the way. They said it was because I was brown on the outside and white on the inside. At college I was encouraged to look only at gateway career options rather than pursue an academic pathway. Despite these challenges, I learned to walk in both worlds. I have found, for the most part, it is about educating others about what it means to be a proudly indigenous Pacific and Scottish wahine warrior, and never to justify it."
Tracey McLellan, Labour, Banks Peninsula
McLellan won the former seat of Ruth Dyson with a majority of more than 13,000. She was on Labour's NZ Council and was acting president after Nigel Haworth resigned. She grew up in Southland in a state house and her mother was in a wheelchair. She returned to school as an adult, did her PhD in psychology at Canterbury and specialised in sports injuries. She became an organiser for the NZ Nurses Organisation.
Namechecks include: Elizabeth McCombs, Ann Hercus, Ruth Dyson, Sam Sachdeva, Martin Ward.
QUOTE: "Before entering this House, I worked as a union organiser for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation. I believe in the power of unions and that our whole society is stronger when workers are organised to fairly achieve better outcomes that improve the lives of everyone. In my role it was a privilege to see the myriad ways our nurses are at the heart of our health system. So I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all nurses and to thank our nurses working in managed isolation and quarantine facilities."
Ibrahim Omer, Labour, list
A refugee from Eritrea, Omer arrived in New Zealand in 2008 and worked in low-paid jobs, farm work, fruit picking, security guard and cleaning. He was a cleaner at Victoria University and in 2013 challenged mayoral candidates at a forum about a living wage. He became active in the union and in Labour, got a pay rise and then studied at the university he cleaned at.
Namechecks include: Ronaldo, cell mates in Kober prison, Lyndy McIntrye, Paul Tolich, Fleur Fitzsimons, Nick Davies, Sam Gribben, Steph Gregor.
QUOTE: "I've been an E tū member, a delegate, and an organiser. I've been a leader in the living-wage movement. I was so proud, a few months ago, when E tū members who were MSD security guards won the living wage. When I recruited them, I talked to them to join the union and told them that we will win the living wage if we all stand up together. After we won, I rang up all of them and told them that this is what it means to be in the union. This is what it means to be active in the living wage movement. This did not come from nothing; it's our victory."
Sarah Pallet, Labour, Ilam
The Jersey-born, Christchurch midwife carried off the biggest upset of the election, unseating National's deputy leader Gerry Brownlee after 24 years in the seat. Inspired by her grandmother who nursed in the Boer War and her midwife mother who died of breast cancer when Pallet was aged 21.
Namechecks include: Gerry Brownlee, Kate Sheppard, Helen Clark, Lianne Dalziel, Ann Hercus, Ruth Dyson, Queen Victoria
QUOTE: "I will bring my ethic of hard work and, hopefully, some of my mum's boundless strength, fearsome determination and relentless compassion to say no to policies and values that keep people in poverty, no to systemic injustices, and no to systems and processes that leave many at a disadvantage through no fault of their own."
Angela Roberts, Labour, list
Roberts is the last Labour list MP to get in after knocking more than 12,000 votes off National's majority in Taranaki-King Country in her first bid at Parliament. She was an economics teacher at Stratford High School but is best known for leading the PPTA teacher union for four years. She praised the efforts of farmers, but said she was standing for children, rural communities and those who strived for climate.
Namechecks include: Ru Mundy, Clarence Beeby, Gordon Tovey, Billy Bragg.
QUOTE: "Our young people are fabulous. They are ambitious for us, curious, and really happy to challenge the status quo. Why not look at something other than capitalism? Why not try a different approach? They aren't bound by precedent or ideology, and they're enthused by different world views and fresh ideas. They're inspired by doughnut and circular economics, socialism and Te Ao Māori. It is my students and the progressive thinkers who are fighting for climate justice and social justice that give me courage."
Gaurav Sharma, Labour, Hamilton West
Sharma, a GP, had an emphatic win, ousting National in his second go at the seat. He arrived in New Zealand from India as a 12-year-old. The speech tells the story of his parents' sacrifices as new migrants as well as the bullying and racism he suffered. He studied at Auckland University and won a Fulbright Scholarship to study business at George Washington University.
Namechecks include: John Morris, John Windsor, Phil Goff, Anand Satyanand, Tim Macindoe
QUOTE: "How we deal with racism as a community and as a country will not be decided by how many bouquets of flowers or cards we leave at the mosques and how many social media messages we write but by how we stand up for others when next time another adopted Kiwi is being racially targeted."
Tangi Utikere, Labour, Palmerston North
Utikere was a late entrant to the election, after the sudden resignation of former Cabinet minister Iain Lees Galloway from politics. He was the deputy mayor of Palmerston North and a councillor for 10 years. A former secondary school teacher, he became a judicial JP presiding over bail and remand hearings and sat on race-day panels for the Judicial Control Authority. Had been appointed to the new Criminal Cases Review Commission and is of Cook Islands heritage.
Namechecks include: Joe Walding, Trevor de Cleene, Steve Maharey, Iain Lees-Galloway, Jill White.
QUOTE: "I'm the eldest of four children, so as the first-born, Cook Island custom dictated that my grandparents gifted me my name. My mother actually wanted to call me Joshua, but instead my paternal grandparents named me Tangi. Throughout school I hated my name, as I always had to explain why someone would want to name their child "grief" or "funeral" rather than the Cook Island Māori translation of — wait for it — "beautiful". Now, I have come a long way since then and now consider it an honour to carry the name that has been gifted to me."
Ayesha Verrall, Labour, list
Elected at No 17 on Labour's list, Verrall, an epidemiologist, was appointed straight into Cabinet as Minister of Food Safety, Seniors, and Associate Minister of Health. Her mother, from the Maldives, was educated under the Colombo Plan and met her father at teachers' college. She was raised in Te Anau and went to Otago medical school and worked in Wellington, Singapore and Indonesia. She reviewed NZ's contact tracing system at the start of the pandemic.
Namechecks include: Charlotte Paul, Nigel Dickson, David Skegg, Michael Baker, Philip Hill, Mohamed Nasheed, Norm Kirk.
QUOTE: "Based on my experience with other infectious diseases, I knew our public health systems lacked the capacity to deal with the threat. I vividly remember when I realised how serious Covid was. I couldn't bear the thought of the deaths, I couldn't bear the thought of my friends in the hospital being overwhelmed, and I couldn't bear the thought of my daughter not seeing her grandparents again. I raised the alarm about the state of our contact tracing in early March, and kept up the pressure until I was asked to review the system. "
Vanushi Walters, Labour, Upper Harbour
Walters was born in Sri Lanka and arrived in New Zealand at the age of 5 with her parents. She studied law at Auckland University and at Oxford and worked in human rights for Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission. The Upper Harbour seat was previously held by National deputy leader Paula Bennett who retired and Walters won it by 2392 votes.
Namechecks include: Annette King, Richard de Zoysa, Cath Tizard, Bob Harvey, Chris Carter, Lal Senaratne, Lecretia Seales.
QUOTE: "We have an obligation to continue to address racism and discrimination. Where voices aren't represented at decision-making tables, we have an obligation to shake the tables. We must not only hear the loud and organised but fiercely listen for piercing silences and work to bring the marginalised and disempowered from the periphery to the centre. We have an obligation to protect all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights and, because rights are meaningless without the ability to access them, we have a connected obligation to ensure sound access to advocacy and to the courts."
Helen White, Labour, list
White had her second go at Auckland Central, previously held by National's Nikki Kaye, but lost to the Greens' Chloe Swarbrick by 1068 votes. She came in at No 48 on the list, the second-last Labour list MP. White has been an employment lawyer for the past 27 years and unsuccessfully sought selection for Mt Albert in 2009 after Helen Clark retired.
Namechecks include: Andrew Little, Maurice Davis, Margaret Wilson,
QUOTE: "Isn't it time for us to recognise the value of a good longstanding relationship between such employers and a union? Many have clung to their dislike of unions by considering they are anti-competitive. All that has been achieved is the depression of wages and a greater gap between rich and poor. I want to see competition fostered where it will reinforce growth including income growth. For example, to see a more certain and concrete prohibition of restraints of trade in employment agreements of low-paid workers."
Arena Williams, Labour, Manurewa
Williams, 31, was chosen by Jacinda Ardern to lead the address-in-reply to the speech from the throne, a slot reserved for promising new MPs. She was nominated to contest Manurewa in 2020 when it was held by Louisa Wall, who went list-only to avoid a selection contest. Williams won by more than 17,000 votes. She studied law at Auckland University and was president of the students' association. She counts Ardern as a mentor and served on Waitemata DHB.
Namechecks include: Te Kooti, Michael Joseph Savage, Peter Fraser, Judith Binney, Nanaia Mahuta, Louisa Wall.
QUOTE: "Over the past decade, I've given deep thought to systematic justice reform. The impact of domestic violence and violent head trauma on women's offending is poorly understood. Bail and sentencing laws can be unjust and counterproductive, and offending against people in custody is inhumane. It's not just; nor is it restorative. There are four prisons in the Manurewa electorate, and their men, women and young people are my constituents too."
Chris Baillie, Act, list
Baillie was number four on the Act list, behind the leader and deputy and Nicole McKee. He was a special needs teacher in Nelson, owned a pub employing 30 people - the Honest Lawyer - and was a police officer for 14 years. He said his father had been a staunch unionist and Baillie started to question him as a 12-year-old when the Cook Strait ferries went on strike because their beds weren't being made.
Namechecks include: Stan Whitehead, Bill Rowling, Muhammad Ali, Robert Peel, Hesiod.
QUOTE: "The increasing inability of young people to listen to a different opinion, debate ideas, challenge beliefs with fact, preferring to condemn all opposition, is concerning. Unfortunately, this is too often encouraged and demonstrated by adults, including teachers, hung up in their own world of woke conformity and self-righteousness, and those who are actively trying to strip away our rights to speak freely."
Mark Cameron, Act, list
A dairy farmer from Ruawai in Northland, Cameron stood in Northland but came in at No 8 on Act's list. His maiden speech paid tribute to the pioneering spirit of those who had farmed on his land before him, including a widow with 10 children.
Namechecks include: Winston Churchill, Jeff Bale, Stuart Franklin, Ann Rogers, Bob Berridge.
QUOTE: "Farmers remain so bloody important, such strong threads in the fabric of this country and New Zealand society. My goal here is to restore that understanding, so that once again, self-belief will be farmers' and growers' and rural folks' greatest asset."
Karen Chhour, Act, list
Based on the North Shore, Chhour stood in Upper Harbour but was elected at No 7 on Act's list. She delivered a maiden speech recounting her harrowing childhood and why she has such an interest in the type of change proposed for Oranga Tamariki.
Namechecks include: Grainne Moss
QUOTE: "A social worker told me 'I'm sorry, none of your family wants you'. I asked if I could go back to my grandmother and was told 'Your grandmother can't take you again – it's too hard for her'. I spent years resenting my grandmother for this and it was only when I got older that I found out she had begged social services to have me, only to be told she was too old. Can you imagine being a child and hearing from a social worker that nobody – not even your family – wants you? I have lived with these words my whole life."
Simon Court, Act, list
Elected at No 5 on the Act list, Court is an environmental engineer based in West Auckland. He calls himself a radical environmentalist. He has worked on landfills including design work and remediation work. He talked about his student days when he "played" at protesting and how he was inspired by the students half a world away in Berlin who tore down the wall with their bare hands and were prepared to die for freedom.
Namechecks include: Stalin, Trotsky, James Bond
QUOTE: "I'm a radical because I believe that farmers, businesses and communities should lead conservation efforts, but in a partnership with Government, not under threat of prosecution and persecution from bureaucrats who fail to understand their way of life."
James McDowall, Act, list
Based in Hamilton, McDowall stood in the Waikato seat but was elected at No 6 on the party list. Has been with Act since 2006, and also stood in 2017. Fluent in Cantonese, he repeated his oath at his swearing-in in the language. An immigration specialist, he and his lawyer wife have an immigration law firm.
Namechecks include: Stuart Pedersen, David Lange, Ronald Regan, Margaret Thatcher, Gorbachev, Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble, Rodney Hide, Samuel Marsden Baker, Richard Seddon, Christopher Columbus, Pol Pot, Robert Muldoon, Ayn Rand, Winston Churchill.
QUOTE: "The bar needs to be raised significantly at Immigration NZ, or it needs to be replaced altogether. Whether it's the appalling delays in processing visas, the lack of transparency, the inhumanity, the inability to work remotely, or immigration officers who get their own policies wrong time and again, it's simply not good enough."
Nicole McKee, Act, list
McKee stood in Rongotai and was elected as No 3 on Act's list. She is a four-time NZ shooting champion and was the spokeswoman of the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners which opposed gun reforms after the March 15 mosque shootings. She talked about her upbringing, saying her Pākehā mother married her Māori father but had brought up her two daughters on her own, working two jobs day and night, and telling them they had to work twice as hard as anyone else because they were Māori and female.
Namechecks include: Din and Viv Collings
QUOTE: "The reality is the Government has not taken guns off the streets as they claimed they had. We are no safer, and the escalating gun violence by criminals remains unchecked. What Government did do was take legitimately owned firearms not from the streets but from police-inspected, secure facilities and used taxpayer money to pay for them. What they did do is not wait for the details to explain where the failings occurred but laid blame on members of the team of five million for the actions of a foreign national."
Toni Severin, Act, list
Christchurch-based Severin stood for Act in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017 and finally made it in 2020 as No 9 on the party list. She stood in Christchurch East. She outlined her diagnosis as having a form of dyslexia but spent much of her maiden speech championing small business owners.
Namechecks include: Sheryl Young, Roger Douglas, Seneca, Aubrey Begg, Ronald Regan.
QUOTE: "Once you have a successful business, people say things like 'how lucky you are'. What they forget is all the hard work we had to put into our business: long hours, personal money, one partner working another job or two, no holiday – just some of the sacrifices we have to make because we believe in our business."
Damien Smith, Act, list
Originally from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, Smith was the last MP to be elected for Act at No 10 on the list. Based in Auckland, he is said to have had experience in business, banking and directorships.
Namechecks include: Roger Douglas, Thomas Bracken, Peter Ryan, Ringo Starr, Paul Krugman, Murray Rothbard, Dwight Eisenhower.
QUOTE: "As an immigrant – and aren't we all – my mind boggles at the lot of the shiploads and waves of early settlers, their resilience, pioneering, frontier-ing and enterprising spirit. They drove the cohesion and spirit contained in the fabric and soul of this great nation but we can and must improve it to further honour them."
Brooke van Velden, Act list
Act's deputy leader ran in Wellington Central but was elected at No 2 on the party list. She ran in Auckland Central in 2017 at No 3. For several years she worked with leader David Seymour at Parliament getting the End of Life Choice Bill passed. Previously a Green Party support, she switched to Act when studying economics at Auckland University.
Namechecks include: John Pugh, Norah Dillon, Roger Douglas.
QUOTE: "We should not judge policies and programmes by their intentions to do good, we should judge them on their results. This requires critical thinking, people unafraid to question, challenge the status quo, and put forward new ideas."
Nicola Grigg, National, Selwyn
Grigg knows the Beehive well from her time as a press secretary for Bill English. More recently she worked for NZ Trade and Enterprise. She said in her speech she left for the Christmas break with imposter syndrome and a dread of returning but was then inspired by Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly. She paid tribute to her great grandmother Mary Grigg, National's first woman MP.
Name checks include: James Christmas, Bill English, John Hall, Jenny Shipley, Ruth Richardson, David Carter, Amy Adams, Mary Grigg, Jim McClay, Brene Brown, Theodore Roosevelt, John Key, Tipene O'Regan
QUOTE: "It is my hope that one day New Zealanders will once again appreciate and, in fact, be proud of our farmers and the contribution we make to an innovative, thriving, sustainable economy and environment."
Christopher Luxon, National, Botany
Luxon was chief executive of Air New Zealand for seven years and head of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council before becoming a backbench MP. He is a political protege of former PM John Key and is seen as a potential leader. He used his maiden speech to explain the role of his Christian faith in his politics, to set out his liberal credentials, and how he thinks productivity should be lifted.
Namechecks include: MacGyver, Jesus, William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, Kate Sheppard
Joseph Mooney, National, Southland
Mooney was a lawyer based in Queenstown until the sudden departure of MP Hamish Walker created a late vacancy. Born in Hawke's Bay, he talked about the hardship of the rural sector and his own family after the reforms of the 1980s, including days on end when there was nothing to eat.
Namechecks include: Jeff Grant, Bill Fox, Walter Nash, Apirana Ngata
QUOTE: The success of each generation is the challenge and responsibility of that generation. The same is true for our country. Our success in the past is not a guarantee of success tomorrow and we must all work both carefully and ambitiously to continue and grow our country's success."
Penny Simmonds, National, Invercargill
Simmonds had a high profile in Invercargill before the election, having been chief executive for 23 years of the Southern Institute of Technology, which started a zero fees scheme. She also chaired Hockey Southland for 10 years and is a former president of NZ Hockey.
Namechecks include: Tim Shadbolt, Riki Cherrington, Michael Skerrett, Rongo Wetere, Ralph Hanan, Tipene O'Regan
QUOTE: "Our rural sector is facing significant threats that seem to ignore or not understand the unique climatic and geographic challenges of the southern farmer and give no credit to the incredible progress already being made by farmers working together with scientists to improve environmental outcomes."
Simon Watts, National, North Shore
Watts worked at "both ends" of the health system before politics, as deputy financial officer for Waitemata District Health Board and as a volunteer after-hours St John ambulance officer. He worked overseas including at the Royal Bank of Scotland and returned in 2013. Has had type 1 diabetes since childhood.
Namechecks include: Maggie Barry, Wayne Mapp.
QUOTE: "Our lives aren't governed by three-year intervals, so why is our decision-making? New Zealanders expect more of this House than that. We need to put in place ideas today that will guide our country to 2040, not 2024."
Elizabeth Kerekere, Green Party, list
Kerekere stood in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti but was elected as No 9 on the Greens' list, having been No 19 in the 2017 election. She is based in Gisborne where she founded the Tiwhanawhana national trust, to advocate for takatāpui - Māori with diverse genders, sexualities and sex characteristics. She dressed in purple for her maiden speech as did many supporters in the galleries, and used it to announce a member's bill to add two new grounds to the prohibited grounds discrimination: gender identity or expression, and variations of sex characteristics.
Name checks include: Maddy Drew, Anahila Alexa-Curtis, Brenda Tahi, Christina Huihiawirihana, Al and RJ Smiler, Val Little, Sue Rostem, Tuisavelalo Aiono, Tim Barnett, Louisa Wall, Georgina Beyer.
QUOTE: "I first spoke in Parliament an 18-year-old as one of the rangatahi representatives to the Hui Taumata, the Maori development conference of 1984. Although I've been asked to consider running over the years since, it was only five years ago, and after I received my moko kauae, that I finally felt I could accept the title of 'politician' and all the colonial baggage that comes with it."
Ricardo Menendez-March, Green Party, list
Born and raised in Mexico, Menendez-March is one of three new Green Party MPs. He arrived in New Zealand in 2006 as an international student but dropped out in 2010. He said he was broke, unemployed, his mother had taken her life and his life was being torn apart. He worked at Capitol Cinema for eight years and then went on to work at Auckland Action Against Poverty. He wrongly suggested Sir Bob Jones was anti-immigrant in his speech.
Namechecks include: Yasnaya Aguilar, Winston Peters, Peter Thiel, Kathleen Paraha, Pat Hanley, Fred Anaru, Sue Bradford, Metiria Turei, Jan Logie, Marama Davidson.
QUOTE : "After years of being involved in political work, I am learning that capitalism and colonialism are systems that thrive on these narratives that divide us. I'm learning that our worth isn't determined by our salary or by our degrees. I am learning that we all have an inherent right to a life with dignity despite the wealthy elite actively trying to strip that right from many of us. I see that our immigration system is still a white immigration system, a tool of the coloniser to exploit us, but until we achieve constitutional transformation and true Tiriti justice, this House will continue to be a beacon for these oppressive systems."
Teanau Tuiono, Green Party, list
One of three new Green Party MPs, Tuiono was elected at No 8 on the list. He is based in Palmerston North but also spent many years in Manurewa or, as he described himself in his speech, "Palmy proud and 'rewa hard". He also likened the core of the Beehive to a Tardis. His father was from Atiu in the Cooks and he affiliates to Te Uriroroi, Ngapuhi and Ngai Takoto in the north. He studied law at Auckland University and has been an activist on indigenous rights and environmental issues.
Namechecks include: Angela Davis, Emma Goldman, Eva Rickard, Fanon, Chomsky, Marx, Ursula Le Guin, Arundhati Roy.
QUOTE: "Climate change is an outcome of colonisation, which has removed indigenous communities' ability to defend the land and the water. And here in the Pacific, our island homes are on the front lines of climate change. The struggle to protect the environment is also the struggle for self-determination. That struggle here is the struggle for tino rangatiratanga. For me, tino rangatiratanga could be a radically democratic alternative to capitalism in which the flax-roots local communities would be constantly and actively involved in making the decisions about the allocation of society's resources in a collective way."
MĀORI PARTY MPs
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, Maori Party, list
Based in Hawera, Ngarewa-Packer was elected from the Māori Party list after co-leader Rawiri Waititi won Waiariki. She was raised in Patea by parents who became adult tertiary learners. Her Irish mother went from being a cleaner at Patea Primary School to the principal. Her Māori father, after being made redundant from Patea freezing works, went to teachers' college and then the head of the Māori faculty at Patea High School. She spoke about land confiscation and an ancestor who had been imprisoned for resisting the invasion of Parihaka.
Namechecks include: William Fox, Titokawaru, Tohu, Te Whiti, Hekaiaha, Tamarawhero, Dalvanius Prime
QUOTE: "I stand here as a descendant of a people who survived a holocaust, a genocide sponsored by this House and members of Parliament whose portraits still hang from the walls — members of this Parliament who sought our extermination and created legislation to achieve it. They confiscated all our whenua, imprisoned us without trial, murdered and raped our women and children, and deliberately engineered our displacement for generations to come. "
Rawiri Waititi, Māori Party, Waiariki
They're back! Waititi beat Labour first-term MP Tamati Coffey by 836 votes, restoring a Maori Party presence to Parliament after a three-year absence, and making Waiariki the only seat Labour lost in a landslide. He began his speech by leading the public gallery in the song You're Magic before delivering a hard-hitting political speech including demands for a Maori Parliament.
Namechecks include: Tariana Turia, Apirana Ngata, Tamati Reedy, Aperaham Taonui, Wiremu Ratana, Te Piupiu, Mokomoko, Rev Volkner.
QUOTE:"I refuse to allow my tamariki or my mokopuna to one day sit in the same seat asking the same question. We will no longer accept this approach, as it allows the state to continue to feast on the dysfunction that it has created among our people. We will no longer accept that the state continues to fund itself every year to allow Oranga Tamariki to steal more of our babies, a justice system to lock up more of our people, a welfare system that keeps my people dependent and poor, an education system that keeps my people dumb, a health system that keeps my people sick, and a housing system that keeps my people homeless. This has to stop."