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What’s it like being a new kid on the parliamentary block?  How do you bring your own experiences into the big machine and work for change?  Our three speakers represent different generations, different experiences, different parties.

Marilyn Waring and Chlöe Swarbrick are the two youngest MPs in the last 100 years – women who have joined the political battles of the day with intelligence and a powerful sense of their own integrity.  Ibrahim Omer represents communities who often struggle to have their voices heard.

They discuss their experiences and what has changed in the time between their terms in Parliament and what remains firmly entrenched.

Marilyn Waring entered Parliament in 1975 and after the 1978 election was the only female National MP.  She crossed the floor on nuclear-free legislation which provoked Rob Muldoon to call the ill-fated 1984 snap election. Marilyn went on to crusade internationally for the economic empowerment of women, and is now a Professor of Public Policy at AUT.

Chlöe Swarbrick won national profile when she ran for Mayor of Auckland at the age of 22 and the following year, 2017, was elected to Parliament for the Green Party. There she has made her mark with changes to drug laws, advocacy of mental health issues and a strong call to action on climate change.

Ibrahim Omer fled Eritrea in 2003.  He moved to Wellington where he worked as a cleaner and dreamt of studying at Victoria University. That dream came true in 2014 when he was promoted to cleaning supervisor. He paid for his study by working full time at nights, cleaning the university he attended. He became a union organiser and campaigned for the Living Wage Movement, then in 2020 he became a Labour MP.

They discuss their experiences and what has changed in the time between their terms in Parliament and what remains firmly entrenched. 

We have just heard this afternoon that Marilyn Waring is suddenly unable to join us for tomorrow’s Aspiring Conversations session, New Kids On The Block due to unexpected and unavoidable personal circumstances.

The session will continue with Chloe Swarbrick and Ibrahim Omer as planned. Theirs are two contemporary voices whose perspective on being new players in Aotearoa’s political arena is engaging and extremely important.

Download Programme Schedule


Wānaka Festival of Colour
Saturday 1 April
60 minutes
$20 (Students $10)
Pacific Crystal Palace
General Admission

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