Media Releases

Matangireia - Full and Frank Interviews with Former Maori MPs in Compelling New Series

Released at 12:49 pm on 27 September 2019

He kokonga whare, e kitea;

He kokonga ngakau, e kore e kitea.

E rere ana ngā mihi ki ngā kaitōrangapū o mua.

I whakairia e rātou ngā korero ki ngā pakitara o Matangireia.

Tēnā koutou katoa

A compelling new RNZ / NZ On Air video and podcast series was launched at Parliament last night by Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development.

In this six-part series, acclaimed political writer and commentator Morgan Godfery conducts frank interviews with six former Māori MPs:  Hon Dame Tariana Turia, Metiria Turei, Hon Sandra Lee, Hon Tuariki Delemere, Hon Tau Henare and Marama Fox.

Produced and directed by journalists Annabelle Lee-Mather and Mihingarangi Forbes, the series takes its name from Parliament’s former Māori Affairs Committee room ‘Matangireia’ which was built in 1922. It is also where the series was filmed.

Lee-Mather said it was fitting that the series was recorded in a room that holds such a significant place in the history of Māori politics.

“Every time you walk into Matangirea you can feel the weight of history. Not only is it a beautiful space, the room itself exudes its own mana.”

The series provides new and compelling insights into the most challenging moments of six political careers, with the former politicians opening up about their darkest days and their moments of triumph. They also discuss the difficulties of transitioning to life after politics.

Forbes said it was a privilege to be trusted with these stories.

“We were really pleased with the level of candour each politician approached the interview with. I think there’s something in each episode that will surprise the audience and we feel very fortunate to have been able to capture their reflections on some of the major events that have shaped Aotearoa in recent times.”

Lee-Mather said she hopes the series will provide a better understanding of the challenges Māori face in Parliament.

“The weight of expectation placed on Māori MPs is really incomparable to that of their tauiwi colleagues. They’re sent to Parliament carrying the aspirations of their whānau, hapū and iwi and that includes righting some of the wrongs past generations of Māori have suffered so they are under huge pressure to deliver.”

While most were enjoying life after politics, others surprisingly expressed a strong desire to return to parliament to finish what they started.

Host: Morgan Godfrey (Ngāti Awa, Lalomanu)

Writer and trade unionist Morgan Godfery is one of the most high profile political commentators in Aotearoa. Godfery was still at university when he began his popular Maui Street political blog and soon found himself appearing across a range networks.

Although he is no stranger to the screen, Matangireia sees Godfery taking on hosting duties for the first time, but his remarkable knowledge of New Zealand politics made it a seamless transition. Godfery has a law degree from Victoria University and politics is in the whakapapa.  His paternal grandfather was a cabinet minister in Samoa and he grew up in the Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau where he saw first-hand the legacy of Rogernomics.

“Growing up in Kawerau, you can’t help but be politicised. I think, if you see poverty around you, and you see the consequences of the economic reforms of the 1980s and the 1990s, you can’t help but notice that the situation is unfair. And then you make the connection that someone’s responsible for it.”

Godfery is currently writing a book for Bridget Williams Books on the history of protest in New Zealand.

Former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei spent 15 years in parliament where she championed social justice issues such as child poverty as well as treaty issues. She rose through the ranks as a list MP to lead the Green Party, becoming one of te ao Māori’s most respected and trusted politicians. Turei reflects on her time in Parliament including the 2017 election campaign which ultimately cost her political career.

Former Māori Party co-leader Hon Dame Tariana Turia became a symbol of Māori resistance in 2004 when she crossed the floor to vote against the Labour Government over the controversial foreshore and seabed legislation. She went onto forge a new relationship with the National Party that saw the realisation of her platform policy Whānau Ora. Turia opens up about the dark days of the foreshore and seabed, the birth of the Māori Party and her aspirations for Māori.

Hon Tuariki Delamere had never been a politician, but when he entered parliament with New Zealand First in 1996 he was immediately promoted to the position of cabinet minister. Delamere served in New Zealand’s very first coalition government with National and New Zealand First, but the relationship was ultimately doomed and quickly fell apart. He reflects on his tumultuous three years in Parliament.

When former Mana Motuhake leader Hon Sandra Lee entered parliament in 1993 as part of the Alliance, she became the first Māori woman to win a general electorate.  She went on to become a cabinet minister in the Labour Alliance coalition government of 1999 before retiring in 2001. She looks back on the challenges of job, the loss of her political mentor Hon Matiu Rata and the realities of Māori political movements under MMP.

Hon Tau Henare’s time in parliament spans two decades but his family’s political heritage stretches back nearly a century. A former Minister of Māori Affairs, Henare first entered Parliament in 1993 as Winston Peter’s right-hand man in the newly formed New Zealand First, and retired in 2014 as a list MP for the National Party in 2014. He opens up about the fateful decision to join the ill-fated National Party, New Zealand First coalition, the personal cost of politics and life after parliament.

She came to parliament in 2014 like a bolt from the blue. Former Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox spent just three years in Parliament but made a big impression. The mother of nine from Masterton became known for her no-holds-barred approach to politics and quickly became a darling of the press gallery. But the Māori Party’s relationship with National and Jacinda-mania prematurely ended Fox’s political career. She reflects on the fall of the Māori Party and the challenges of life in the public eye.

Made possible by the RNZ/NZ On Air Innovation Fund