The first KiwiNoy Member of Parliament (MP) Paulo Garcia delivered his historical maiden statement in Wellington in three languages – he started speaking in Te Reo Maori, then in the Filipino language, and in English.
Attorney Paulo Garcia delivered his first speech as an MP in front of other New Zealand MPs and a public gallery full of KiwiNoys and supporters on May 29, 2019. MP Garcia was sworn in on May 21 as the List Member of Parliament in New Lynn for the New Zealand National Party – marking the first time an MP of Filipino descent is holding the office.
Good News Pilipinas spoke to MP Paulo Garcia about his maiden statement, his new journey as a New Zealand legislator and what he hopes to achieve as a KiwiNoy.
MESSAGE FOR FILIPINOS
MP Paulo Garcia told Good News Pilipinas that his “achieving a seat in the NZ Parliament was the result of the hard work of many and then blessed by God all the way!
“I believe that we are all called to be brave, matibay sa puso at hindi padalosdalos at makasarili. We should live our faith in all that we do, wherever we are in the world! This way we bring God unto all we do and help ourselves and others grow in faith.
“Take care to build strong relationships and teach our children to respect and honor all persons especially all women! That men should step up and be strong protectors and providers for our families and that we help others to get to know God better through our daily lives … in our ordinary tasks. Please pray for the All Filipinos worldwide! Pray for the Philippines and pray for New Zealand!”
OPENING PRAYER IN FILIPINO
MP Paulo Garcia started his maiden statement with a prayer spoken in three languages – Te Reo Maori, Filipino, and English.
Speaking in Filipino, the KiwiNoy MP prayed:
“Nagmamahal na Panginoon, kami ay buong pusong nagpapasalamat na minarapat mong mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang inyong mga anak na makapaglingkod sa bayang New Zealand, hindi lamang sa mga nursing homes at ospital, sa mga dairy farms at mga construction sites, sa I.T., engineering at hospitality, at ngayon pati na rin sa larangan ng pambabatas.
“Pagkalooban ninyo po kami ng puso, isip at katawan na matatag upang maisatupad namin ang inyong layunin para sa amin sa bansang New Zealand.”
MP Garcia then translated the same prayer to English:
“We thank our loving God that he has given his children the opportunity to serve New Zealand not just in nursing homes and hospitals, in dairy farms and construction sites, in I.T., engineering, and hospitality, but now also in the New Zealand parliament.
“Grant us a steady heart, mind, and body that we may help bring your will for us in New Zealand to fruition.”
The former Consul-General of the Philippines in Auckland is a devout Catholic serving as Chairman of Family Enrichment New Zealand. In his speech, Garcia acknowledged members of other faiths who also help build up the country. He expressed gratefulness for the New Zealand society that practices ethnic and religious tolerance and allows migrants to succeed.
CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND TOLERANCE
MP Garcia presented himself as a member of the migrant community from the Philippines who has been welcomed into various sectors of New Zealand society.
The New Zealand and United States-educated lawyer and University of the Philippines graduate practiced law in the Philippines before migrating to New Zealand.
Garcia’s speech was punctuated with the characteristic Pinoy humor eliciting laughter from the other MPs and the appreciative crowd. At the same time, he pointed out various societal issues and concerns which revealed his mission in the NZ Parliament: the sanctity of life, religious tolerance, online material, freedom of speech, parenting, women, children, the elderly, the value of relationships. The new Filipino MP mentioned his own family’s struggles and inspiration.
Garcia ended his first MP speech with an inspiring poem titled “Identity” written by his daughter Mariana:
“A migrant house is built tall on foundations filled with sky, stacked with the hopes of generations into storied bastions that testify to us. We were made to hold together.
“I stand proud in the shade of a roof made for me, to raise it high by proclaiming I have a Spanish name, an American accent, and an Asian face and I have been welcomed in Aotearoa.”
MP Paulo Garcia received a standing ovation from the MPs at the end of his maiden speech. The public gallery filled with KiwiNoys, Filipinos, and New Zealanders then broke out in song, singing “Pinoy Ako” from the Filipino band Orange and Lemons while Garcia was congratulated, embraced, and welcomed by the MPs.
WATCH the stirring speech by the first KiwiNoy Member of Parliament in New Zealand and TELL US in the comments below your greetings for MP Paulo Garcia.
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