Education Minister shrugs off abuse at festival

Updated at 8:26 pm on 26 February 2013

Education Minister Hekia Parata is downplaying her treatment at national kapa haka festival Te Matatini when the crowds heckled and booed her on stage in Rotorua.

While she was presenting an award at the end of the biggest Maori cultural festival on Sunday, people from the audience shouted insults and challenged Ms Parata about her work as minister.

In Te Reo, Ms Parata said it was just one small part of what was a beautiful showcase of Maori culture.

"Kei te kōrero koe mō tētahi paku wahanga o te hui, kāore au e pīrangi ana ki te kōrero mō tērā - nō te mea nā te ataahua o Te Matatini."

"What you're talking about is just one small part of the gathering, I do not want to talk about that - because Te Matatini was beautiful."

Ms Parata then defended her position as minister, saying it is a heavy but rewarding job. She said she genuinely wants to see all children achieving in the education system and is working hard to make that happen.

"He mahi taumaha, he mahi ataahua hoki te mahi matauranga nā te mea kei te kite tātou mehemea ka tūtuki pai ngā tamariki wā rātou tohu matauranga ka tāea e rātou te tū pakari i roto i tēnei ao. Nā reira ahakoa ngā werohanga, kei te pai, kei te mahi tonu ahau."

"It is a heavy job and it's also a beautiful job the education portfolio because when you see our children achieving their educational qualifications they can then stand strong in this world. So despite the challenges, that's all right, I am still working at it."

The minister said although she was challenged about her job that is fine.

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