Kei aku nui
Kei aku rahi
Rau Rangatira ma
Tena tatou katoa
E te Kahurangi, Anne Salmond
Nōku te maringa
Ki te mihi, ki te whakanui
i a koe i tenei po,
me tenei o nga Tohu o te Kairangi.
E pono ana ahau ki tenei o nga korero
“He kotuku rerenga tahi”
Ka nui te mihi ki a koe
Tena tatou katoa
I cannot possibly do justice to Dame Anne’s achievements in the next few minutes.
There can be few New Zealanders so deserving of the Order of New Zealand – or indeed of the numerous other honours and awards you have received – including the Blake Award and New Zealander of the Year.
The long list of post-noms after your name are testament to your extraordinary service to your country.
It’s appropriate that the insignia that you have received today has only been worn by one previous recipient – another woman of great mana, wisdom and leadership – Dame Te Atairangikaahu.
I think she would have approved to see it bestowed on someone who has played such a pivotal role in opening the eyes of New Zealanders to our past and our roles as Treaty partners.
Our perceptions of our history will never be the same – and this shift has changed our interactions at a political, social, cultural and environmental level.
Titiro whakamuri haere whakamua.
That process of awareness and change played out in your own life, with your mentors Amiria and Eruera Stirling providing historical and cultural understanding that helped to propel you on your life’s journey into scholarship and advocacy.
They recognised in you an integrity and sincerity of purpose which would make you a worthy kaitiaki of tikanga and matauranga Māori.
They were clearly excellent judges of character, because you have repaid their trust and confidence more than they could ever have imagined.
You have applied your insights and knowledge for the very best of goals – the bringing together of the two vastly different worlds of Pakeha and Māori.
You have not been afraid to have difficult conversations or voice opinions that could invite hostile responses.
Your patient research and brilliant writing has resulted in greater awareness of the extraordinary expertise of Polynesian seafarers who traversed vast tracts of ocean, using traditional navigational skills.
We now see the Pacific as a body of water that connects people, rather than divides them. As well appreciating those commonalities, there is more appreciation too of the diversity between the inhabitants of those islands.
You have provided insights into the worldview of indigenous peoples of the Pacific, as well as the devastating impacts of colonialism on their economic, cultural, social and spiritual wellbeing.
Unsurprisingly, I reflected on your work when I opened Lisa Reihana’s Emissaries exhibition at the Venice Biennale – and again at the magnificent Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy in London.
Your influence has been remarkable, widespread and enduring, not least because you have been prepared to step outside academia and take on the role of a public intellectual.
As our schools embark on introducing New Zealand history into the core curriculum, I imagine that you will be watching closely to see that te ao Māori becomes a strong thread in that curriculum.
And as we face the existential challenges of climate change, species collapse and degradation of the natural world, I know you will keep encouraging New Zealanders to be better kaitiaki of the natural world.
When they see that you walk the talk, I hope that they will be encouraged to follow your example.
Thank you for what you have done for Aotearoa as a scholar, teacher, writer, presenter, and advocate.
Thank you for taking us with you on your fascinating and illuminating voyage of inquiry.
I wish you every success as you help us steer through the choppy waters that lie ahead.