E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu 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 inviting me today. It’s a great pleasure to be here.
I have a strong belief in the power of the arts. It’s something that can inspire, transform, build connections between people, build personal and community wellbeing - and then there’s the not inconsequential matter of entertainment and enjoyment.
So often we have public debate and discussion about the physical infrastructure of our communities –roads, water pipes, the electricity supply. We cannot forget that equally important is the infrastructure of the heart - the way the arts can affect our emotions and imagination or the way music or theatre or dance can bring beauty to our lives. These things add greater meaning to our existence and make for a more vibrant and engaged community.
Certainly our country has been through a very turbulent time in the last fortnight. While the events of Christchurch will continue to reverberate for some time, events like this, that bring people together in celebration of shared artistic experience, allow us breathing space as we get to grips with what has happened.
My time here at the festival is short but I’m making the most of it. I’m very much looking forward to Jody Savall’s performance. It’s a thrill to see an artist of his stature live in concert.
Following that I will be attending a rehearsal of the student production “Permission to Speak”. It’s great to see the Festival giving a voice to young people as well as increasing youth arts participation with its programme creative workshops across the region.
Then there’s the street theatre programme reaching out into the community. A marvelous opportunity for everyone to get out and get involved. It’s quite an achievement to encompass all age groups and all parts of the community in one programme.
I’m also pleased to see Aspiring Conversations exploring issues of real significance. It is so important for us as a country to ensure we can discuss and debate issues in our communities in a positive and collaborative way.
Thank you Hetty and congratulations to you and the festival trust board for your work over the years in sustaining the Festival of Colour.I wish you every success and look forward to coming back again, next time for longer.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa