In a feature on Newshub Nation’s “Backstory” segment, NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft gives the public a view of her tremendous life. She recalls becoming orphaned, experiencing abuse in foster care, and her life-long journey to reconnecting with her whakapapa.
From her home in Rodney, north of Auckland, Ms. Marcroft told the story of losing her father at a very young age, before eventually losing her mother also after a bout with breast cancer. At the age of fifteen, the first-term list MP left home on horseback and never returned since, experiencing a life of being moved from one foster care to another.
Among the MP’s most cherished possession is a facsimile of “He Whakaputanga” (the declaration of independence by Māori chiefs in 1935) and of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi, 1840). Using it, Ms. Marcroft can point to her ancestors and make a connection with her Ngāpuhi whakapapa.
Re-establishing this connection to her past is important for the MP, who states that her forebears have suffered discrimination and violence for being Māori. Ms. Marcroft’s father was beaten for speaking Te Reo Māori, while her uncle saw his Māori name taken from him in school and was instead given the Western name, “Bill”.
Ms. Marcroft also had an extensive career in broadcasting prior to entering Parliament, from working at MaiFM to being a newsreader at TV3 to being a broadcaster on RadioLive, and she cites this profession as an integral part to her healing – allowing her to have a voice and being heard. She stated that becoming an MP was an extension of this ethos of having your voice heard, using it to effect positive change in your life.