Twelve answers from Metiria Turei

Green co-leader Metiria Turei was asked twelve questions by Sarah Stuart (NZ Herald). Here are abbreviated answers.

1. Did the feminist in you rejoice at being allowed to speak at Te Tii last year?

The feminist in me rejoiced about women talking to women and respecting their authority. It was the kuia who make it possible. All I did was ask.

2. How do you think Helen Clark would have felt about it?

3. How do you feel on Waitangi Day?

I love every bit of it. The political challenges and protests are really important. Our country has been built on love and pain and we have to be honest about both.

4. Are you missing Russel yet?

Are you kidding? I have a long list of jobs he needs to do before he goes. I will miss him. He’s a very deep thinker and full of ideas and he’s prepared to have those ideas tested, which is enormously valuable.

5. Do you wish, like him, that you had spent more time with the kids?

It’s my greatest regret about taking this job 13 years ago. I missed out on my daughter’s last half of childhood

6. Your family moved around a lot when you were a child: was that the time you felt at your loneliest?

Probably. It’s difficult having to explain to other kids repeatedly who you are and why you are at their school, making friends and not worrying you might not see them again.

7. What did your parents teach you?

Generosity. No matter how little you have, you have enough to share.

8. What did your parents teach you that you’d never pass on?

I can only think of the naughty things. Like nicking other people’s firewood and the techniques we used to do that. Or sucking the cream from other people’s milk bottles then putting the lid back down. Now I feel very sorry for those people, and embarrassed.

9. You drifted for a few years after school: were you hard on yourself for not achieving over those years?

I was really. But I took this view that to do something, anything, was better than nothing. That if I kept on trying to do things, then something would happen.

10. You were a single mum at 22, and then decided to get a law degree: how did you find the confidence, the time and money?

It wasn’t really about confidence – Piupiu needed her mum to make a better life.

11. Who is your favourite National politician?

I have a lot of time for Nikki Kaye, a young woman doing very well in a very hard place. She’s got a good conscience. Tau [Henare] was my favourite. I enjoyed his caustic, high maintenance company because he is funny as hell

12. Will your time as leader be up soon too?

I believe in staggered succession and that’s the advantage of a co-leadership. We’ll see what happens after the next election.

Detailed responses: Twelve Questions: Metiria Turei