To all of the children here; Hon Chris Carter and Rajen Prasad, Members of Parliament; Dr Hone Kaa, Chair of Te Kahui Mana Ririki; Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni (sign ‘good morning'). These are the languages of the Realm of New Zealand.
Thank you for inviting my husband, Anand, and me to attend Toddler's Day Out and Great Parenting Fair here in Henderson in Waitakere City this morning.
It's a joy to see children and their family and friends here. I wish to congratulate the organisers for bringing together such an interesting array of stalls and entertainment.
Children's Day is about celebrating childhood and this year the focus is on the listening and talking part of our relationships.
As parents, caregivers and communities we need to make time and space for children because in these busy times, our priorities can shift.
Making time means giving young ones our love and affection, praise and encouragement. It means offering them new experiences, like attending the Toddler's Day Out here in Waitakere City.
By listening and talking, children learn. By listening and talking they develop to be happy, healthy and vibrant children.
We have become grandparents to a boy and girl in the last six weeks and we have had much joy from them. It is clear to me that the bond between parents and their babies is enhanced by constant talk and even singing. I am thrilled that I have a grandchild's mesmerised attention when I sing a lullaby - and it doesn't seem to matter that I'm not in tune!
They remind me just how important it is to cherish our children because they are vulnerable. The new generation gives a sense of purpose to our lives. The complete trust that our babies have in us is something we must not betray. Adults are the centre of their universe and their world is strongly influenced by us.
When we celebrate Children's Day we focus our attention on their needs. Everyday should be children's day.
There is an African proverb which says:"It takes a village to raise a child." Enjoy Children's Day today and celebrate all that is special about the tamariki here, today, tomorrow and in the future.
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou kia ora, kia kaha, tēnā koutou katoa.