Notice of Motion: The death of Flight Sergeant Andrew Forster
Hon Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party
Tuesday 24 November 2009
The Maori Party stands to convey our respects to the bereaved family and community at the loss of Flight Sergeant Andrew Forster.
The impact of this tragedy will have spread from Waiouru, across Manawatu, right through to the Bamiyan province in Afghanistan – all areas where Sergeant Forster was respected and very well liked.
But the shock of his death is even more pointed in that he was killed in the line of duty; carrying out a routine process to mark an unexploded bomb when the shell exploded, killing him and injuring another Defence Force member.
I myself have a close association with the Waiouru Military Camp – having served there as a cadet in my younger days, as well as establishing tikanga Maori protocols for the camp and working with the national marae, Rongomaraeroa o Nga Hau e Wha in Waiouru.
I have been proud to be associated with the soldiers within Te Taua Tumatauenga.
Flight Sergeant Andrew Forster had just returned from active service in Afghanistan; he has served with the airforce for 27 years and ultimately he lost his life in the line of duty for a country he was proud to serve.
We too, are proud to honour him and all those soldiers within Ngati Tumatauenga who display such extraordinary courage in their commitment to Aotearoa.
Mr Speaker as is our custom in respecting the dead, I must also acknowledge another passing. I refer to Hawea Vercoe, a young Maori leader who was killed tragically this week.
No reira Flight Sergeant Andrew Forster; Hawea Vercoe; haere korua ki te okioki – hei whariki ma matau; haere, haere, haere ra.