Rau rangatira mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Nau mai haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kawana ki Tamaki Makaurau. Distinguished guests warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House.
I specifically acknowledge: Peter Hillary; Chris Luoni, Chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards; and Bianca Ranson our guest speaker - tēnā koutou katoa.
It is a great pleasure for Janine and me to welcome you all to this lunch at Government House today.
We come from different backgrounds and endeavours. What we all have in common is our interest in young people and their well-being. We want them to acquire experiences and build skills so they can achieve for themselves and the wider community.
HRH Prince Philip, Kurt Hahn and Lord Hunt came up with a winning concept 60 years ago. It remains relevant today in the 140-plus countries and territories that offer an opportunity of self-development to young people.
Linking Sir Edmund Hillary’s name to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards in New Zealand - the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award – gives it a distinctively New Zealand flavour.
Sir Ed described his circumstances like this when he said: "In some ways I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed."
Hillary was not an average person. His example is one that fosters a competitive ethos of dogged excellence. He remains and inspiration and there is no better role model for our young people. I am pleased that the Hillary family maintains a strong connection with the Awards.
Being the Patron of the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards in New Zealand has meant that I have met outstanding young men and women who have completed their Gold Award. They have impressed me by what they’ve achieved, where they’ve achieved and by what they’ve had to say about their achievements.
I have seen for myself how the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards foster a greater sense of civic responsibility and service, and develop self-confidence and a sense of connection with the natural and social world.
During my time as the Patron, it has also been a privilege to meet the good people who work behind the scenes and support the Award programme – teachers, parents and administrators. They make the Awards – bronze, silver and gold – effective self-development programmes.
I am looking forward to hearing about the efforts being made to expand the Award programme’s reach and progress in South Auckland and Kawerau. The work being done to enable any young person to participate, whatever their circumstances, is effort we can all applaud.
In that vein, I do hope you too will be inspired by our next speaker, Bianca Ranson. In the meantime, thank you for joining us, and please enjoy the hospitality of Government House.