E kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi nui ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
I’d like to specifically acknowledge:
Monica Briggs, Chief Executive of the Child Cancer Foundation
Dennis Turton, Board Chair of the Child Cancer Foundation
Karen Heslip, Life Membership Award recipient, and Mr Gary Heslip
our Star tamariki and your families.
Tēnā koutou katoa. I’m delighted to welcome you all to Government House Auckland for this very special event, honouring our Child Cancer Foundation Life Membership Award recipient and Star tamariki.
One of my favourite things about being Governor-General is the opportunities I have to meet extraordinary New Zealanders, up and down the country, doing all sorts of incredible things to help others.
And one of the most incredible things about these special people, is that they help others, not because they want any kind of reward or recognition, but because they know it’s the right thing to do, and that our own happiness so often comes in helping others to be happy too.
Karen, Arian, Mya, Nicole, Faith, Tamsin, Brianna, Eli, and Jaxon – I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to meet you all today, and to thank you, on behalf of all of New Zealanders, for your courage and kindness.
I understand that Esme, our ninth Star, was very disappointed she couldn’t be with us today – but I’m looking forward to meeting and congratulating her at next year’s event.
It’s a remarkably brave thing, to turn your experiences of cancer into ways of bringing comfort and hope to others. But it’s perhaps no surprise that you do – being yourselves such brave individuals.
I’d like to take this opportunity to also acknowledge the tremendous work of Monica and all the staff and volunteers at the Child Cancer Foundation – as well as Dennis, your Board, and all those who help to fund the Foundation’s important work.
The Child Cancer Foundation not only provides wonderful support to young patients and their families, you also offer hope for the future through your support of ground-breaking research into childhood cancer.
This research seeks out new and improved treatments for paediatric cancer, and also looks into things such as when children might return to school following their treatment – which I know can be both an exciting and frightening moment for children and their families.
On that note, I’d like to acknowledge the parents of the Stars here today: for your own incredible courage, as well as all that you’ve done to support your extraordinary tamariki.
The late Queen once said: ‘Deep down in every human soul there is a store of goodwill waiting to be called upon. People of goodwill everywhere are working to build a world that will be a happier and more peaceful place in which to live.’
To Karen, our Stars and your whānau – you so clearly reflect these words, and I could not be any prouder or more honoured to present your awards to you here today.
Kia ora, kia kaha, e huihui mai tātou katoa i tenei ata.