Dinner hosted by the Governor of Queensland
May I begin by greeting everyone in the languages of the realm of New Zealand, in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Niuean, Tokelauan and New Zealand Sign Language.
Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni and as it is the evening (Sign)
May I specifically greet you: Your Excellencies, Ms Penelope Wensley, Governor of Queensland and Mr Stuart McCosker; Others tbc; Distinguished Guests otherwise; Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of my wife Susan and I, may I thank you for inviting us to this dinner at Government House Brisbane. I also want to thank you for hosting us to stay at Government House on our way home from our State Visits to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
I would like to make a few brief remarks that emphasise the relationship between Queensland and New Zealand.
Those links stretch back into our individual and shared colonial histories. Just as New Zealand was once historically joined at the hip to New South Wales, so was Queensland and that this year you are marking 150 years since that parting of ways.
That anniversary also marks another connection. In my role as Governor-General of New Zealand and your role as Governor of Queensland, we share a predecessor in Sir George Bowen. Sir George was Governor of Queensland before being appointed as the fifth Governor of New Zealand. Apparently as a career viceroy, after these two appointments, he went on to serve in vice-regal roles in Victoria, Mauritius and Hong Kong before heading back to England and retirement.
Those historical links are now underpinned by extensive people-to-people links. Obviously, our government-to-government relations are very close. New Zealand maintains a Consulate-General here and in August, New Zealand Prime Minister Hon John Key met with Queensland Premier, Hon Anna Bligh.
I understand that more than 150,000 New Zealanders live permanently in Queensland, representing about 40 percent of all New Zealanders in Australia. Likewise, there are significant flows of tourists, both from Queensland to New Zealand and vice versa.
There is also significant trade between Queensland and New Zealand. I am advised that the two-way trade was valued at more than NZ$2.8 billion in 2007-2008. A large number of New Zealand companies are active or based in Queensland and service the Australian market from here.
In these and many other links it seems many New Zealanders have adopted the advice of 19th Century British writer Samuel Butler, a one-time New Zealand resident. In his famous 1872 book, Erewhon, he wrote:
“We should begin by representing the advantages afforded to labour in the colony of Queensland, and point out to the Erewhonians that by emigrating thither, they would be able to amass, each and all of them, enormous fortunes—a fact which would be easily provable by statistics.”
Whilst Butler’s book was meant to be a satire, but in a case of life imitating art, he seems to have been proven correct.
Thank you again for inviting us to dinner and for hosting us here at Government House.
And on that note, I will close in New Zealand’s first language Māori, offering everyone greetings and wishing you all good health and fortitude in your endeavours.
No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora, kia kaha, tēnā koutou katoa.