Tau Henare

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The Honourable
Tau Henare
MP
38th Minister of Māori Affairs
In office
1996–1999
Prime Minister Jim Bolger,
Jenny Shipley
Preceded by John Luxton
Succeeded by Dover Samuels
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Northern Maori
In office
1993 – 1996
Preceded by Bruce Gregory
Succeeded by constituency abolished
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Te Tai Tokerau
In office
1996 – 1999
Preceded by new constituency
Succeeded by Dover Samuels
1st Leader of Mauri Pacific
In office
1998–1999
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for National Party list
In office
17 September 2005 – 14 August 2014
Personal details
Born Raymond Tau Henare[1]
(1960-09-29) 29 September 1960 (age 54)
Otara, Auckland, New Zealand
Political party New Zealand First (1993–1998)
Mauri Pacific (1998–1999)
National (2005–present)
Spouse(s) Ngaire Elisabeth Brown
Relations Taurekareka Henare (great grandfather)
Sir James Henare (great-uncle)
Children 5
Occupation politician
Committees
  • Mäori Affairs Committee (chairperson)
  • Transport and Industrial Relations Committee
  • Auckland Governance Legislation Committee
Website Tauhenare on Twitter

Raymond Tau Henare (born 29 September 1960) is a former New Zealand Māori parliamentarian. In representing three different political parties in parliament—New Zealand First, Mauri Pacific and the National Party—Henare served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1993 to 1999 and from 2005 to 2014.

Early life[edit]

Henare was born in Otara, New Zealand, the son of a 37-year railwayman, on 29 September 1960.[2][3] Known by his middle name "Tau," Henare's tribal roots are Ngāpuhi and what he characterises as "all the North".[2] His involvement in politics can be traced to his family's involvement in politics. Henare's great-grandfather, Taurekareka (Tau) Henare,[2] served in Parliament from 1914 to 1938 alongside notable Māori politicians such as Apirana Ngata, James Carroll and Maui Pomare. Henare's great-uncle was Māori Battalion leader and politician Sir James Henare,[2] who was once considered a candidate to be Governor-General and served as a revered guide and mentor to a young Tau.[3][4] Henare himself was the brother-in-law to New Zealand Māori politician Tuku Morgan through Henare's marriage to the sister of Morgan's wife.[4]

As a young boy growing up in Otara, Henare had a contrasting childhood. On one hand, he was told almost before he could walk that his future would be politics,[2] which at times requires statesman-like skills to deal with others. On the other, Otara was "a place where you learn how to survive," and it required Henare to learn "to be strong, stand up and not take a backward step."[2] Looking back on his 1960s childhood in 1996, Henare summed it up as one that "taught me to be proud of who I am."[2] It also later contributed to what he describes as "youthful exuberance" that lead to a 1980s reputation for being a stirrer and a radical.[2]

In Otara, Henare attended Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. During Year 11 (Form 5) when he was 16, Henare passed School Certificate, a former New Zealand secondary school qualification for high school students to progress to Year 12.[2] However, Henare was unsuccessful on his New Zealand University Entrance.[5]

After his schooling ended in 1978, Henare worked at a variety of positions, including wool cleaner and wool classer, where he was responsible for separating sheep's wool, organiser for the Northern Clerical Workers' Union under activist and trade unionist Syd Jackson,[6][7] community worker, advise to the Waitakere City Council, and Department of Internal Affairs adviser.[2] During this period, Henare was unemployed for two years.[2] Also, at the age of 25, Henare was arrested for breaking through a police line and laying a wreath for the Maori Battalion during a royal visit on Anzac Day in 1985.[2]

In addition to being influenced by his upbringing and pre-Member of Parliament work, Henare was influenced during his 20s by Maori culture:

"I mostly remember how Maori culture comforted me and distracted me, the exhilaration of rowing a waka down the Waikato River with 100 others, the voluntary work at the local marae. Hitching to hui across the country and picking up the language along the way, meeting relations for the first time, changing our names."[8]

In connection with Winston Peters (himself half Māori) establishing the New Zealand First party in July 1993,[9] Henare changed the focus of his activities to politics for the 6 November 1993 elections.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1993–1996 44th Northern Maori NZ First
1996–1998 45th Te Tai Tokerau 2 NZ First
1998–1999 Changed allegiance to: Mauri Pacific
2005–2008 48th List 29 National
2008–2011 49th List 26 National
2011–2014 50th List 40 National

Henare first won election to Parliament in the 1993 elections as the New Zealand First candidate for the Northern Maori electorate,[10] a surprising result given Labour's traditional dominance in the Māori electorates. In defeating incumbent Labour Party member Bruce Gregory, Henare became New Zealand First's second MP, joining Peters in the House. As such, Henare became New Zealand First's deputy leader.

In December 1994, Northern Maori member of parliament Henare supported Māori tribe's paramount chief Sir Hepi Te Heuheu in Heuheu's refusal to attend a meeting with then Prime Minister Jim Bolger for a roundtable discussion on government proposals to settle Maori claims, reasoning that the government's handling of Maori claims indicated a lack of understanding of the gravity of the issues involved and the meeting would be a public relations exercise.[11] Two months later in February 1995, Henare supported a push to have the United Nations oversee a fiscal envelope negotiation process. by which a monetary cap of $1 billion would be placed in a "fiscal envelope" for use in settling all Treaty of Waitangi grievances.[12] Henare felt that United Nations scrutiny would ensure justice in the face of past treaty breaches and that the Government's forceful approach did not create future resentment.[12]

Minister of Maori Affairs[edit]

In the 1996 elections, conducted under the new MMP electoral system, New Zealand First gained fifteen further MPs, and also made a clean sweep of the five Māori electorates. As deputy leader, Henare was second on New Zealand First's party list. He easily won re-election in his electorate, which had been renamed Te Tai Tokerau. When New Zealand First went into coalition with National, allowing a third term of the fourth National government, Henare joined the Cabinet, with his most prominent ministry that of Māori Affairs. He and the four other New Zealand First Māori MPs — Tuku Morgan, Rana Waitai, Tu Wyllie and Tuariki Delamere — became known as the Tight Five, an allusion to the five tight forwards in a rugby union team.

Mauri Pacific[edit]

In August 1998, the coalition between National and New Zealand First started to become unstable, and internal tensions arose within New Zealand First itself. When Prime Minister Jenny Shipley sacked Peters from Cabinet on 14 August 1998, Peters pulled New Zealand First out of the coalition. However, Henare and several other New Zealand First MPs left the party and offered their support to National, allowing the government to maintain a slim majority. It later emerged that before departing, Henare had mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Peters. After a brief time as an independent, he banded together with four other MPs who had departed New Zealand First (including two other members of the Tight Five, Morgan and Waitai), and established the Mauri Pacific party with himself as the new party's leader. Late in the term, he was criticised for refusing to give Trevor Mallard a chance to speak on the use of the Māori language in Parliament, because Mallard wasn't Māori.

In the 1999 elections, Henare finished a distant third in his electorate and Mauri Pacific only gained 0.08% of the vote, forcing Mauri Pacific out of Parliament.

National Party[edit]

In the 2002 elections, after Mauri Pacific's dissolution, Henare stood as a candidate for the National Party. He contested the Te Atatu electorate, and was ranked thirty-fifth on National's list. On election day, Henare finished second in Te Atatu, and National did not win enough seats for Henare to return to Parliament.

Return to Parliament[edit]

In the 2005 election, Henare stood again as a National candidate, again contesting Te Atatu and holding the 29th slot on the party list. He expressed agreement with the controversial Orewa speech on race relations made by National Party leader Don Brash. Henare almost doubled his vote from the 2002 election result but still finished a distant second in Te Atatu. However, National's gains in the election were enough to return him to Parliament as a list MP.

In October 2007, Henare had an altercation with Labour Party MP Trevor Mallard outside the debating chamber in Parliament House.[13] In 2008, Henare contested Te Atatu to come in second and be returned as a list MP. During debate on the Auckland Local Government changes in August 2009, it emerged that Henare had sent an email to his colleagues lobbying for the right to vote against part of the legislation, in particular whether there should be Maori seats on the new Auckland super city Council. In that email, Henare remarked about the role of the National Party's coalition partner and the ACT Party.[14] In response to reaction to the email, Henare made a number of challenging remarks about the co-leader of the Maori Party.[15] In February 2010, Henare's Employment Relations (Workers' Secret Ballot for Strikes) Amendment Bill was drawn from the member's ballot.[16] The bill passed its first reading. In 2011, Henare contested Te Atatu to come in second and be returned as a list MP.

In March 2012, Henare married Ngaire Brown, his long-term partner, in a Parliament select committee room. The wedding celebrant was fellow MP Chris Auchinvole, Paula Bennett spoke, and Parekura Horomia gave the mihi (formal speech).[17] In addition to his public office, Henare presently is a talkback host on Newstalk ZB, an early childhood education consultant, a trustee on the Kura Kaupapa board and the Rutherford College board, and chairman of Tu Tangata education provider.[18]

In late 2012 Henare was looking to replace Lockwood Smith as Speaker, but dropped his bid when he lost the backing of the Maori Party.[19] The Maori Party said they were not responsible for the failure of his bid, they were simply canvassing whether it was likely he would be appointed Speaker, and that ultimately they believed that Henare did not have the support.[20]

In April 2014, Henare announced his intention to retire from politics at the 2014 general election, influenced by an expected low list placing.[21]

Parliamentary roles[edit]

Minister for Racing 16 December 1996 – 30 August 1998
Associate Minister for Sport, Fitness and Leisure 16 December 1996 – 2 August 1998
Minister of Maori Affairs 16 December 1996 – 10 December 1999
Associate Minister of Corrections 31 August 1998 – 10 December 1999
Associate Minister of Education 31 August 1998 – 10 December 1999
Associate Minister of Tertiary Education 21 June 1999 – 10 December 1999
Associate Spokesperson, Treaty of Waitangi Issues and Māori Affairs (Treaty Negotiations) 26 October 2005 – 1 December 2006
Associate Spokesperson, Education (Early Childhood) 26 October 2005 – 1 December 2006

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Zealand Parliament – Employment Relations (Secret Ballot for Strikes) Amendment Bill – In Committee". Hansard 675: 21104. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2012. "Ray" 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Helen Bain (14 December 1996). "Happy in his work. Saturday people. After one term he's been tagged as the next Maori affairs minister.". The Dominion Post (Wellington). p. 18. 
  3. ^ a b Anthony Hubbard (12 July 1998). "Brash, in-your-face urban warrior". The Sunday Star-Times. p. 2. 
  4. ^ a b Joanne Black (15 July 1998). "Henare pays price for perceived arrogance". The Dominion Post (Wellington). p. 2. 
  5. ^ Helen Bain (18 July 1998). "Tau Nailed. Dumped NZ First deputy leader Tau Henare is unrepentant". The Dominion Post (Wellington). p. 18. 
  6. ^ Patrick Gower (25 September 2009). "Bill offers veil of secrecy for votes on strike action: Tau Henare says employees need confidence of anonymity when deciding whether to protest". The New Zealand Herald. p. 4. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Tributes pour in for 'face of Maori rights': Syd Jackson's commitment to human rights and his people won many friends". The New Zealand Herald. 5 September 2007. p. 9. 
  8. ^ "Tau Henare gives a Maori perspective on recessions and how they shape a nation". The New Zealand Herald. 13 April 2009. p. A15. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  9. ^ David Barber (15 September 1993). "NZ set for November poll. Economic recovery under way, says Bolger". The Age. p. 9. 
  10. ^ Judith Whelan (13 November 1993). "A new era for NZ dawns with a hard political lesson". The Age. p. 26. 
  11. ^ Helen Bain (6 December 1994). "Bolger to meet NZ Maori leaders on Wednesday.". Reuters. 
  12. ^ a b Catriona MacLennan (10 February 1995). "Claim deal arrogant and doomed, says Laws". The Dominion Post (Wellington). p. 2. 
  13. ^ "Mallard sorry for punching Henare". Television New Zealand. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  14. ^ "National set to block Maori seats". The New Zealand Herald. 24 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  15. ^ "Maori seats spat gets personal". Stuff.co.nz. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  16. ^ "Employment Relations (Workers' Secret Ballot for Strikes) Amendment Bill". Parliament of New Zealand. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  17. ^ "Tau-tally devoted: MP's quick 'I do'". Stuff. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  18. ^ "Hon Tau Henare – Biography". National Team. National MP's – NZ National Party. 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Henare drops Speaker bid". 3 News NZ. 11 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "Maori Party defends abandoning Henare". 3 News NZ. 12 December 2012. 
  21. ^ Davison, Isaac (8 April 2014). "Tau Henare retirement: 'It's been a hell of a lot of fun'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Bruce Gregory
Member of Parliament for Northern Maori
1993–1996
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau
1996–1999
Succeeded by
Dover Samuels
Political offices
Preceded by
John Luxton
Minister of Māori Affairs
1996–1999
Succeeded by
Dover Samuels
Party political offices
New political party Leader of the Mauri Pacific Party
1998–1999
Party disbanded