YHA 75th Anniversary Dinner

YHA 75th Anniversary Dinner, Arts Centre, Christchurch
5 May 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, I greet you in the languages of the realm of New Zealand - English, Maori, Cook Island Maori, Niuean, Tokelauan and Sign Language.

Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni and (Sign)

I specifically acknowledge you:  Hon Damien O'Connor, Minister of Tourism; Ross Butler, Chairman, YHA; Mark Wells, Chief Executive; Deputy Mayor of Christchurch Carole Evans; Representatives of the Wilding family, Dave and Allison wilding; International Youth Hostel Federation Delegates; YHA Volunteers and Staff; Invited Guests.

Thank you for inviting my wife Susan and I to share in the celebrations for the 75th Anniversary of YHA New Zealand.

It was, of course, a given that we would be here tonight, as I am erstwhile patron of this standout New Zealand organisation in a line unbroken for 47 years since my predecessor Viscount Cobham took up the position in 1960.

Tonight I look forward to hearing substantively about the history and the evolution of the YHA.  In preparing for tonight, I mined the necessary knowledge of how the YHA came to be in New Zealand which is indeed a fascinating tale of determination and succeeding against the odds and of strong leadership.

It is a success story substantially attributable to a Christchurch woman Cora Wilding, a woman who came to be respected in equal measures for her warmth and her iron will.

That story and its telling of the story is best left to others tonight, but I do want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the vital role Cora played in establishing YHA New Zealand - initially in the Banks Peninsula, and the through to the West Coast and beyond.

She found an ally in Sir Arthur Dudley Dobson, President of the Automobile Association and the man New Zealanders can thank for discovering the Arthur's Pass route through the Southern Alps.

Together, under the umbrella of the Sunlight League, the pair led the early years of the YHA in New Zealand.

Their legacy is an Association whose membership I am told now totals more than 23,000, and which serves as friendly and accessible accommodation not just for New Zealanders, but for our international guests as well.

In my experience, organisation which celebrate milestones such as this, and who as part of their celebrations recount a history of growth, tend to be indebted to a great many people.  It is the people who make an organisation.

As the well-known Maori proverb says:

E raka te maui, e raka te katau

A community can use all the skills of its people

This is certainly the case with the YHA.  Many thousands of New Zealanders are part of the wider YHA community and they are jointly responsible for its evolution and success.

They are the people who have taken inspiration from the kindred spirits Wilding and Dobson, and have helped their original vision take it current shape.

I doubt even Cora and Sir Arthur could have imagined that YHA would become such a statement for New Zealand recreational culture.

May I congratulate, and thank all of those volunteers, and staff who have helped make YHA New Zealand such an iconic feature of holidaying in New Zealand.

I began speaking in all the New Zealand realm languages.  May I close by speaking in Maori issuing greetings and wishing you good health and fortitude in your endeavours.

No reira, tena koutou, kia ora, kia kaha tena koutou katoa.

Back to Speeches

Tours of Government House Wellington for the public, schools and community groups are being offered, starting in the New Visitor Centre.

Find out more.

Features

  • Government House Recipes - Orange and Olive Oil Syrup Cake
  • New Year message - 2014
    Governor-General's 2014 New Year message
  • New Year Honours 2014
    Queen honours New Zealand's best
  • Nelson Mandela
    Governor-General pays tribute to South African leader
  • Niue and the Cook Islands
    Visits reaffirm special relationships within the Realm of New Zealand
  • Badge of the General Fono of Tokelau
    Governor-General hosts ceremony at Government House
  • Leadership Week
    Governor-General leads the Sir Peter Blake Trust Dream Team
  • Matariki 2013
    Governor-General recognises the contribution of women
  • Coronation Diamond Jubilee
    The Governor-General looks back at the Queen's 1953 Coronation
  • AIDS Candlelight Memorial
    Message from the Governor-General
  • South Canterbury and North Otago Regional Visit
    20-23 February: An overview
  • Waitangi Day - 2013
    Governor-General and Lady Janine visit Waitangi and Auckland
  • New Year Message 2013
    Governor-General issues his 2013 New Year message
  • New Year Honours 2013
    New Zealanders recognised by The Queen of New Zealand
  • Birthday cake
    Secrets of Government House birthday cake revealed
  • Diamond Jubilee visit
    Royal couple to visit Auckland, Wellington, Manawatu and Christchurch
  • Royal reception
    Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall prepare for trip to downunder
  • New Zealand's Governor-General
    Government House publishes new booklet
  • 2012 London Olympic Games
    The Governor-General supports the NZ Olympic Team in London
  • Diamond Jubilee message
    The Governor-General's Diamond Jubilee message
  • Open to view - credentials ceremonies
    Watch the video of a credentials ceremony at Government House
  • Western Bay of Plenty regional visit
    The Governor-General makes his first official visit.
  • Open Days 2014
    Government House Open Days 2014
  • Christchurch and Canterbury Earthquake Anniversary
    The Governor-General's Programme
  • Waitangi Celebrations 2012
    The Governor-General's first Waitangi Day Programme
  • Governor-General's New Year Message
    Sir Jerry Mateparae issues his 1st New Year message - watch the video
  • State Opening of Parliament
    Governor-General announces the Government's plans
  • Speaker-elect confirmation ceremony
    Dr Smith confirmed as Speaker of the House
  • Appointment of the new Government
    The Governor-General appoints the new Government
  • Queen's Diamond Jubilee Emblem
    New emblem to mark the Diamond Jubilee
  • Rugby World Cup
    Message from the Queen of New Zealand on the All Blacks' victory
  • State Swearing-in of Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae
    A Government House short film
  • Royal NZ Navy 70th Anniversary
    The Governor-General hosted and attended associated events
  • New Zealand Gallantry Awards
    Government House has today issued a special honours list
  • One year on from the 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake
    Governor-General issues a message
  • Swearing in ceremony
    Sir Jerry Mateparae to become NZ's 20th Governor-General
  • Sir Paul Reeves
    New Zealand's first Governor-General of Maori descent dies
  • Visit by King George Tupou V of Tonga
    The Governor-General hosted a State Welcome for the King of Tonga
  • Māori King visits Government House
    The King plants a tree to mark the visit
  • Matariki
    The Governor-General's 2011 Matariki Message
  • The Royal Wedding
    Sir Anand and Lady Susan attended the Royal Wedding on 29 April
  • ANZAC Day message
    The Governor-General's message for ANZAC Day commemorations
  • The National Christchurch Memorial Service
    Details and photos are available here.
  • Christchurch Earthquake
    Governor-General offers the support of all New Zealanders
  • Canterbury earthquake
    World leaders send messages of support to New Zealand
  • Waitangi Day 2011
    Sir Anand Satyanand's last Waitangi Day as Governor-General
  • New Year Message
    Governor-General issues his message for 2011
  • Pike River Mine Tragedy
    World leaders send messages of support to New Zealand
  • Governor-General visits Canterbury
    A visit to support and encourage those affected by the earthquake
  • New Year Message
    Governor-General issues his message for 2010
  • Governor-General's 2009 New Year Message
    New Zealanders urged to volunteer