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Posted in General Students Visit Parliament

Date: 19 February 2019



Students Visit Parliament

Last Thursday seven Year 13 students were fortunate enough to visit Parliament.

Liliani Otuhouma, Lisia Vakalahi, Pou Taufahema, David Moa, Uele Hausia, Sione Tu’ungafasi, and Diane Amanoni are graduates of the Year 9 Fakatoukatea programme run by former students, MP Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki and Sepa Hausia-Schaumkel, for selected Tongan students.

What an amazing experience students had! We arrived in Wellington after an uneventful flight  and were picked up from the airport and taken directly to Parliament. Students were immediately put to work learning about the history of Parliament Grounds, Parliament House, the Parliamentary Library and the Executive Wing, known as the Beehive. Next there was a tour, where students were given an enormous amount of information and were surprised to learn that in the House the Speaker is the boss! The Speaker is the Member of Parliament that the House of Representatives chooses to communicate with the Sovereign on its behalf. The Speaker's role includes chairing meetings in the House and certain select committees. It is his job to try and keep order in the House.The Speaker acts as landlord for Parliament’s buildings and represents the House to international and other important visitors.

As the House was sitting, students were able to sit up in the gallery and observe question time.

One of the highlights of the day for students was meeting Anahila who is a Labour List MP and Minister Peeni Henare in a select committee room. Minister Henara spoke to students about the importance of keeping their language and being determined in the pursuit of their goals. He shared his own story of facing challenges, being determined and overcoming obstacles. Anahila encouraged students to remember their ‘Why’, which for all the students was their desire to make their families proud.

The students were delighted to find that there are Maori and Pasifika representing them in Parliament and that all people can have their opinions heard.

With our flight back to Auckland significantly delayed, it was off to Te Papa to see one of the worlds greatest archaeological finds; the Terracotta Army (259-210 BC), which over 2200 years ago the first Emperor of China had made to try and achieve immortality. Certainly the terracotta warriors have ensured that he will never be forgotten.

A huge thank you to Anahila, Sepa, and Sandra Tisam for organising this fantastic day for our students. Thank you, Minister Henare for taking the time to meet and speak with us. We are truly grateful to everyone who made this trip possible.


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