Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen – warm greetings to you all.
Thank you for joining Sir David and me here this evening in this wonderful venue.
Given that the economy of this region owes a lot to the sea, it’s a nice touch that we will have it lapping underneath our feet during this reception.
I’m told The Boathouse once housed the Nelson Rowing Club and Nelson Sea Scouts. Forgive the pun, but I see buildings like these as anchors for our communities. It’s great to see this heritage building being retained and continuing to thrive as a valued arts and events venue.
I’d like to take a moment to explain the purpose of our visit to Nelson-Tasman. As Governor-General, a large part of my role is celebrating and acknowledging the successes and accomplishments of New Zealanders.
Sometimes that involves people coming to Government House. Sometimes that involves me coming to you, to talk face to face and discover what’s going on in your neighbourhood.
My aim over the next five years is to visit all the regions of New Zealand and gain further insight into what makes this country tick. There are incredible success stories being written all around New Zealand, from business start-ups to events to individual achievers and I want to find out about them first-hand.
Tonight we are celebrating what makes Nelson-Tasman special. What I’ve seen of the region so far leads me to believe that your community is in good heart.
Growth in local GDP is outstripping our national figures, tourism numbers are soaring and the population is growing . Statistics only tell us part of the story but the indicators are that Nelson-Tasman is doing well. I’m sure other larger regions are looking at what’s being achieved here enviously.
The story of this region is about more than just local achievement. Names like Sealord and Talleys have long been household names with international involvement. Other enterprises have sprung up more recently - Pics Peanut Butter Company, for example, which is taking its products to the world. The histories of these organisations and their continued contribution to this region demonstrate that large scale success is not the sole provenance of those in the big city.
That success is not limited solely to business. The artistry and vision of WOW was born here and the museum continues to inspire visitors. Nelson is also home of the Cawthron Institute, New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation. These are all part of the region’s rich tapestry of innovation.
It has to be said that you have been somewhat blessed in terms of climate and natural beauty. You can’t claim the credit for everything! Three national parks on your doorsteps, a reputation as the sunniest spot in the country, fertile farmlands and abundant fisheries have all been factors that have allowed this region to become economically diverse. Capitalising on your assets is something that requires careful planning. Sustainability in our primary sector is no longer a buzzword, but a watchword, and sensible stewardship of your resources is an investment in the future.
There are other challenges facing all of us. These are interesting times politically. As a relatively small player, New Zealand can be greatly affected by uncertainty in our overseas markets.
There are also challenges facing us with technology and the impact it is forecast to have on employment. We all need to be forward thinking, innovative and flexible to deal with changes in fortune.
I have been impressed by what I’ve seen here today in Nelson and am excited about venturing further afield tomorrow into the Tasman region. I look forward to meeting more of you tonight. Please enjoy your evening.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.