Jacqui Hemara and Takutai Kemp. Photo / Sarah Sparks
New Tāmaki Makaurau MP Takutai Kemp will be forever grateful for the Whānau Ora kaupapa which has helped her deliver aroha to a community who have struggled for a voice.
The Te Pāti Māori MP made her farewell speech to former Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency board chairwoman Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, regional partners, including Te Pae Herenga o Tāmaki collective and karāiahi.
It was a moment of nostalgia and honest reflection shared on the final day of the Northern Regional Wānanga, which has been part of a national series of hui taking place across the motu.
“I can honestly say that I have been part of every kaupapa of Te Pae Herenga o Tāmaki for the last 10 years,” Kemp said.
Te Pae Herenga o Tāmaki Whānau Ora collective serves more than 200,000 urban Māori through its extensive network across New Zealand’s largest metropolitan city.
Sharing the stage with Kemp, Te Pae Herenga o Tāmaki chairwoman Jacqui Harema reiterated the mahi the Tāmaki collective has achieved in the previous nine years, from building whakawhanaungatanga to now being “mini commissioning agents” to enable their own communities.
“It’s been an ever-evolving, changing collective adapting to the current environment to serve whānau, achieve collective impact, advocate, develop the workforce and build a regional backbone,” Harema said.
Kemp, the outgoing chief executive of Manurewa Marae, has progressed the kaupapa and herself from being a partner in the Whānau Ora collective, to board member and now the Māori Party MP holding the portfolio on Whānau Ora.
“I always started with the kōrero saying that I was very privileged and humbled to be the CEO of Manurewa Marae within Te Pae Herenga. Now I have the privilege of saying that I’m the MP for Tāmaki Makaurau.”
“Did I ever think I was going to be an MP? No.”
She attributed her career change to the succession planning, growth, and development of Whānau Ora that all those in the room had been a part of.
“I’ve been very lucky; I’ve had great leadership and great guidance from many.”
Kemp was appointed a director of the board at Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency in February 2021.
“You know political leadership looks like every one of us in this room. It looks like you, it looks like all of us, and it looks like me,” she said.
“That’s what we need to do, we need to grow more advocacy across our whānau.”
Kemp has been a stalwart of the South Auckland Community, with more than 30 years serving her community kaupapa from hip-hop dancing, mentoring rangatahi to leading the operations of one of South Auckland’s busiest marae.
Since being elected to Parliament she has been appointed to the social services and community select committee portfolios.
“We look forward to being the pebbles in the shoes of Pāremata Parliament and continue to be the disruptors advancing kaupapa and our people.”
Sarah Sparks is a freelance Māori journalist who works across multiple Māori organisations’ kaupapa.