New Zealand representatives at Mandela’s memorial service

John Key and four other people have gone to South Africa to attend the memorial service for Mandela. The four are David Cunnliffe, the leader of the Opposition, two ex-politicians from the Muldoon National Party and Dr Pita Sharples, co-leader of the Maori Party.

However, the South African government has limited seats in the stadium to a Head of State and one other from each country. John Key offered the second seat to David Cunnliffe but he offered it to Pita Sharples saying that he thought it was more appropriate for a Maori to be there.

There has been a lot of criticism of John Key’s choice of people to represent New Zealand. First, many people believed that only those who protested against the 1981 Springbok tour should be chosen. Of the five people representing New Zealand, Pita Sharples was the only one who protested against the tour.

MP Hone Harawira of the Mana Party has also chosen to go to South Africa on his own. He was one of the Maori leaders of the protest in 1981.

Nelson Mandela met with many of the protest leaders when he visited New Zealand after he became Prime Minister of South Africa and he said, ‘You’re on the other side of the world and there you were fighting for us and that had a major effect on our country”.


  • memorial service – a ceremony to remember someone
  • ex-politician – used to be a politician
  • Head of State – head of a government e.g. President or Prime Minister
  • appropriate – suitable
  • criticism – strong opinions against something
  • effect – influence, helped to bring change


  1. T.T Hard to understanding.

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    Ali From Iran.

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