Dr. Pita Sharples
Dr. Sharples has been appointed a Knight Companion in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services as a Member of Parliament and to Māori.
“Pita has made an extraordinary contribution to Māori development over the last fifty years, from establishing this country’s first Māori language immersion primary school in Auckland (Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi) to helping establish this country’s only indigenous political party in Parliament.
“The Māori Party were incredibly lucky to have a founding co-leader with his vision and utter belief in the power of Māori culture and knowledge to transform people’s lives,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.
Dr. Sharples became a Minister for Māori Affairs, Associate Minister for Education and Associate Minister for Corrections in 2008, four years after the Māori Party was formed.
His long list of political achievements include establishing the Māori Economic Taskforce which wrote the Māori Economic Strategy: He Kai Kei Aku Ringa that continues to guide the Crown in its support of the rapidly growing Māori economy; initiating the Māori and Pasifika Trade Training programme that has been highly successful in lifting educational success and employment prospects for young Māori and Pasifika peoples; reviewing the Māori Language Strategy and introducing the Te Reo Māori Bill last year that gives whānau, hapū and iwi greater control of the Māori Language Strategy. He also launched Tātaiako which encourages secondary school teachers to work with local hapū and iwi to teach students about local history and he introduced more Māori cultural programmes to support the rehabilitation of Māori prisoners.
Dr. Sharples often says that leading the campaign for New Zealand to sign up to the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2010 was his political highlight.
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