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Elizabeth Kerekere

In this podcast Elizabeth Kerekere from the Green Party talks to Regis Perez about what it's like to be a Member of Parliament.

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This recording features an interview with Elizabeth Kerekere, a member of the Green Party. The interview touches on the journey and experiences of Kerekere as a Member of Parliament, focusing on both career milestones and LGBTQ+ advocacy work from the 1970s through to the 2020s.

Kerekere's activism roots trace back to youth, starting as a 15-year-old engaged in various movements including anti-racism, anti-nuclear, and feminist causes. Initially outside of party politics, Kerekere joined the Green Party seven years prior to the interview and unsuccessfully ran for an MP seat in 2017. However, persistence led to election success in 2020. Comfortable with the dynamic demands of Parliament due to previous contract work and travel, Kerekere enjoys the role despite its long hours and the stamina it requires.

During the interview, Kerekere reflects on the significance of being part of New Zealand's government, which is noted for having a high proportion of queer political figures. Welcoming this representation, Kerekere expresses a desire to see even greater diversity, advocating for the inclusion of transgender, non-binary, and intersex individuals. The MP is hopeful for more representation in the following election and emphasizes the importance of fostering a representative parliamentary environment.

Kerekere addresses the ongoing need for enhanced support for the LGBTQ+ community, citing consistent calls for gender-affirming healthcare and safe environments for all identities. The MP notes progress made in equality through legislative changes that shift public perception and acceptance.

When discussing the future for takatāpui, Kerekere envisions a society where people can live with pride in their identities, free from daily hassles, while being connected to their Māori roots.

The MP's personal journey as an out member of the LGBTQ+ community started at a young age, and they were fortunate to have strong family support. This background informs Kerekere's approach to mentorship, providing unequivocal support and fostering young people's confidence.

Kerekere also addresses the hostility encountered when advocating for rainbow communities, particularly during debates on legislative changes such as conversion practices and updating the Births, Deaths, and Marriages registry. However, steadfast, the MP faces opposition with a "backbone of pure steel," underscoring the importance of resilience amidst adversity.

The interview concludes with Kerekere celebrating the courage of rainbow community leaders and young activists who serve as their heroes. Despite any negativity faced within the parliamentary setting for being publicly queer, Kerekere remains unfazed and focused on the fight for equality and representation.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:25th November 2022
Interviewer:Regis Perez
Location:Parliament buildings, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004698).