You can literally climb mountains if you have the right attitude and I was privileged to see this in action. Local woman, Stacey Roche has cerebral palsy and was almost fully reliant on her wheelchair. She has spent the last 18 months training to walk up the Mount to raise money for SwitchedOn Exercise and Wellness Centre. The money will be used to buy equipment to help others, like herself, to achieve their goals. Climbing the Mount is a real challenge and her determination spreads an inspiring message to Kiwi’s with and without disabilities to improve mobility, independence and wellbeing. I congratulate her on reaching the top and all the hard work that went into achieving this.
Over the last month we have seen a number of changes in the National Party. I unveiled the team to take on the Ardern-Peters Government. Our party has energy, experience and enthusiasm and I think the new line up shows this. All 56 of our MPs will contribute towards taking on the Government. Both Steven Joyce and Jonathan Coleman announced their retirements. I thank them for their years of service and I wish them all the best for their futures outside of Parliament.
Leading the National Party has come with some extra privileges like meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo, catching up with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and chatting with President Obama. Attending the dinner “An Evening with Obama” was a chance to hear the insights of one of this century’s great leaders. His comments that true leaders listen more than they talk, really stood out to me, and that’s what I and the National team are doing as we visit New Zealanders across the country. Attending the dinner with many influential kiwis was a real honour.
On the family front we introduced our baby daughter Jemima to readers of the Woman’s Day. Our two sons both had their birthdays this month, Emlyn turned 6 and Harry turned 4.
When I look back on the month there have been so many highlights including visiting the Pasifika Festival where I practiced my drumming with Hon Alfred Ngaro. It reminded me of the days when I had my own drum kit, so much fun!
My road trip to Whanganui included catching up with around 500 people at the Clubs New Zealand Conference, sitting down with a group of business leaders, spending time at an early childhood education centre and opening Harete Hipango’s new electorate office.
Natalie, the boys and I visited my home Marae at Oparure as part of King Tuheitia’s annual Poukai. We really enjoyed the hospitality in Oparure and it was a very special event for us all to be part of.
There was a trip to the engine room of our economy when I attended the 25th Central Districts Field Days in Feilding. The rural community showcased what a great job it’s doing in the areas of innovation and sustainability.
I’m not sure how I will top such a jam-packed, exciting month but I can already see some interesting events on the horizon. I look forward to telling you about them next month.