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Winston Churchill Fellowship Awards

Issue date: 
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO

Ladies and Gentlemen, I greet you in the languages of the realm of New Zealand - English, Maori, Cook Island Maori, Niuean, Tokelauan and New Zealand Sign Language.  Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni and (Sign)

May I specifically greet you: Luamanuvao the Hon Winnie Laban; Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector; Dr Charles Royal and Sister Paula Brettkelly, Chair and Deputy Chair respectively of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust; Trustees of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Board; Morag Woodley, Director, Community Development Group, and fellow staff from the Department of Internal Affairs; Distinguished Guests and Award recipients; Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for inviting my wife Susan and I to host the Winston Churchill Fellowship Awards Ceremony here at Government House.

May I address a particularly warm welcome to those selected as Fellows of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.  You are the reason we are all here today, to recognise your achievement in becoming a Fellow of the Trust.

Every two years or so, recipients come to Government House to be presented with their Fellowship certificates by the Governor-General and I am delighted to be able to carry on this tradition.

The Trust carries the name of Sir Winston Churchill.  While best known as British Prime Minister during the Second World War, that experience convinced him that world peace and greater international understanding could be promoted through ordinary people being able to travel to other countries and experiencing other cultures.

Established by an Act of the New Zealand Parliament in 1965—the year of Sir Winston's death—the Trust awards up to 25 Fellowships each year.  The Fellowships help all kinds of New Zealanders—community workers, farmers, scientists, business people, actors, teachers, members of religious orders, artists—to travel overseas for short periods and bring back new knowledge and understanding that will enrich the community.

There is nothing quite like travel to provide a new insight into the realities of the world we inhabit.  In the Governor-General role I have travelled throughout New Zealand supporting community events and travelled overseas representing our country.  Recently there have been official visits to Niue, Tokelau and Samoa and it is good to see here today the Minister who joined in the chemistry of the visits.  A much clearer understanding of many of the challenges facing our friends in the Pacific has emerged.

Recently Susan and I travelled to Belgium to represent New Zealand at the 90th Commemorations of the World War I battles in Flanders - Ypres, s'Gravanstel, Passchendale.  That theatre in France and Belgium was New Zealand's most costly military campaign in terms of lives lost, killing almost 12,500 lives from May 1916 to November 1918. 

While numbers like that easily roll of the tongue, what does that mean in reality?  The enormity of those numbers became very apparent when we visited the largest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Tyne Cot and Ieper, where names on monuments and headstones stretch for as far as an eye can see.  It was a truly breathtaking experience providing an insight in a way that reading and listening and movie-going could not quite do..

As Trust Fellows, you have been selected because you presented outstanding proposals to investigate topics that will increase your contribution to the community and to your trade, profession, business or calling. 

The list of projects and their variety makes for impressive reading and we'll hear more about them during the presentation of the certificates.  But I think it goes without saying that you have done extremely well to be identified to receive these important Fellowships and your families and friends can be rightly proud of you.

Following the ceremony, I would like to invite you to come through to the Conservatory for afternoon tea while the Fellows have their official group photograph taken.

Having just spoken of war, I will end with a short quote from Sir Winston Churchill that shows how a man, so strongly linked with conflict, knew only too well the value of peace.  In an epigraph from the first volume of his series about the Second World War entitled The Gathering Storm, he says:

"In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity; in peace, goodwill."

Each of you is doing something more than the ordinary.  Churchill was one such and two of his aphorisms seem apposite in this setting.  "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty".  Linked with this is him saying "Difficulties mastered are opportunities won".  This enables me to end by reflecting that 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, tena koutou, kia ora, kia kaha, tena koutou katoa.

Last updated: 
Friday, 9 January 2009

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