Metiria has worked hard all her life to speak up for those who have struggled to be heard. Whether as a young mother, an advocate for the unemployed, or an MP, she has stood up, fought for what she believes in and brought about real change. Her passion is building a more equitable society; reducing unemployment, ending child poverty, ensuring all Kiwis live in warm, healthy homes and protecting our rivers and oceans for future generations.
“My dream is every New Zealander, no matter what ethnicity, religion, sex, age or background, being treated with dignity and respect.”
Raised in a working class Māori family in Palmerston North, Metiria’s parents were “always generous, no matter how sparse the resources”. After becoming a single Mum at 22, Metiria realised she needed a career that would set her up well to care for her daughter. Using a training incentive allowance, she put herself through law school, graduating in 1999 from Auckland University and going on to work as a commercial lawyer at Simpson Grierson. Her passion for education comes from her own experience of just how important it is.
She joined the Greens in 2000, then entered Parliament in 2002, breaking Parliamentary rules in her maiden speech by singing ‘There is no depression in New Zealand’ in Te Reo. “I can still remember the translator being deadly serious through the entire thing!”
In 2009 she became Green Party Co-leader, a task she initially approached with trepidation – “you don’t know how you’re going to lead until you’re doing it”. Turns out she needn’t have worried. She co-led a fantastic election result in 2011: 11% of the vote, meaning 14 Green MPs in Parliament.
Within the Party, Metiria strives to encourage participation from Māori and women, two groups that can easily be underrepresented in New Zealand politics. She remains very aware of why she is in Parliament, and for whom.