Whetū Tirikātene-Sullivan

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Whetū Tirikātene-Sullivan, ONZ

Ngāi Tahu

A ten-term parliamentarian, The Honourable Tini "Whetū" Mārama Tirikātene-Sullivan had an influential career distinctive for the number of firsts she achieved. 

Elected to parliament in 1967 she was the first Māori woman cabinet member, the first woman to give birth while a sitting MP and the first cabinet member to give birth in Aotearoa and the Commonwealth. A champion for women’s rights, in 1970 Tirikātene-Sullivan took her infant child to Parliament with her when it was not the family-friendly place it has become recently. 

An advocate for Māori, Tirikātene-Sullivan campaigned to promote Māori language, health employment, and education, and fought long and hard for better Māori representation in Parliament.

In this clip from the 1969 Labour Party Conference she speaks, against the proposed, all-white, All Black tour to South Africa which would be an act "accepting the conditions of apartheid law".

Find out more about Whetū Tirikātene-Sullivan:

Read the RNZ obituary for Whetū Tirikātene-Sullivan.  

View the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography profile for Whetū Tirikātene-Sullivan.

Image: Screengrab from Labour Party Conference 1969.

Catalogue Reference F87682

Year 1969


Production: NZBC

Excerpt: 00:00:56

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