Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi nui ki a koutou. Nau mai, haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kawana o Tamaki Makaurau.
A warm welcome to this evening’s education forum, especially to those of you who have travelled some distance to be here.
I specifically acknowledge the presence of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh. I am sure everyone connected to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award in New Zealand is absolutely delighted that Your Royal Highness has taken up the mantle of your father’s legacy.
In my previous career in education, and in my role as Children’s Commissioner, I have seen the impact of unhappy circumstances on youth development. I have also witnessed the results of positive interventions, when rangatahi are mentored and encouraged with kindness and empathy.
We share a responsibility to ensure our young people can achieve their potential, as indicated in this whakataukī: 'Tukuna te rangatahi kia tū, kia whanake: Allow youth the opportunity to grow.'
For 60 years, the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award programme has encouraged rangatahi to expand their horizons, test themselves and learn what they are capable of doing.
Our schools, communities and workplaces have reaped the benefit, and all of us have a vested interest in ensuring that young people can develop the skills, qualities and values that will enable them to take their place in the world.
I know time is pressing, so I won’t hold you up any further from your consideration about how that development can best be accomplished.
I look forward to joining you again later at the reception and hearing what emerges from your discussions.