Investiture Ceremony for Dame Tariana Turia

By Tema Hemi

Two years since being made a Dame Companion of the NZ Order of Merit, Dame Tariana Turia received an official ceremony at Pūtiki marae today in Whanganui. 

Turia says her greatest accomplishment in life is her family, "I think having 26 mokopuna and 28 great grandchildren- definitely having a large whānau has been really wonderful.  I think the person who played the greatest role in my life was my Aunty Wai who brought me up because she taught me that kaupapa and tikanga were the most important things and it didn't matter what you did."

And that's why it was important for her to hold a ceremony amongst her whānau, two years after she was made a Dame Companion of the NZ Order of Merit.

Turia says, "When Dame Patsy Reedy offered for me to have it back here at home I was really thrilled because these are the people who raised me."

The ceremony acknowledges decades of tireless work.  Dame Turia's leadership came to the fore during the Moutua Garden protests, and she later went on to co-found the Māori Party. 

Te Ururoa Flavell says, "Her courageousness to stand at the forefront of things pertaining to Māori and not to just fly the Tino Rangatiratanga flag but for all things Māori- I've admired that about her."

MP for Te Taihauāuru Adrian Rurawhe says, "I think the major thing she achieved across a whole lot of areas was that she changed the narrative about how the rest of New Zealand view whānau and Māori."

Among her biggest achievements is the estabishment of Whanau Ora and major Maori health initiatives.  

Her son Pahia Turia says, "Bringing it back home for mum really was a way of receiving the honor on behalf of all of our people."

Dame Turia says that she will keep fighting the fight and will continue to work for the betterment of the Māori people.