E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.
Kia ora tātou katoa.
Thank you for inviting me today to open this new purpose-built night shelter for women in Christchurch.
It seems to me that the kaupapa of this building is empowerment for women. As a female Governor-General, it’s no great surprise that I want to whole-heartedly support that goal.
The first step of this empowerment has been the recognition that there are homeless women in Christchurch who need somewhere to go.
I understand that this has been somewhat of a hidden issue in the past, and you are very much pioneers with this facility.
The second step in this empowerment process has been to get past the many hurdles that face every charitable organisation that is trying to fund a new building and secure the services that it needs.
So congratulations to the Christchurch City Mission, and the donors and contractors, for succeeding with your plans.
This is a great day for the women who need a haven from the cold and life on the streets.
As they say, a society is judged by how well it treats its most vulnerable citizens.
Among the vulnerable we must count the people who, for whatever reason, have found themselves without family, job or a place that they can call home.
People who have no resources, and nowhere else to go.
That is a daunting and potentially overwhelming prospect for anybody to face.
So I appreciate that there are a range of services here so that your clients can plan a new course for their future.
I imagine that it’s not always easy or straightforward to start on that new path.
Every journey starts with hopeful first steps – and with the support and expertise of staff who care, who want to assist in whatever way they can, there is a better chance of success.
I hope that this night shelter will fulfil its promise and become a place of hope and transformation for all the women that come through the door, and I wish them and the staff all the very best for the future.
Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui, huihui tātou katoa