Kei aku rangatira, tena koutou katoa
Ina tētahi waiata e mea ana
“Ko Matariki te whetū, hei arataki e”
No reira, haere mai koutou
Hei whetū arataki
Hei whetū tiaho iho mai
He mārama, he mārama.
My greetings to all gathered here tonight
There is a song which says
Matariki is that star to guide us
And so I bid you all welcome
As stars to lead
As stars shining down upon us
Both clearly and brightly
I acknowledge His Worship John Carter, Mayor of Far North District Council,
the Chair of Foundation North, John Slater,
Kaumatua Kevin Prime,
and Chief Executive Jennifer Gill – who I understand is about to retire from her role after 15 years at the helm.
I also acknowledge Sir Rob Fenwick, whose family gifted this house to the Crown in the 1960s.
One of the great privileges for a Governor-General is the opportunity to publicly acknowledge good people who are doing outstanding things in their communities – so I am delighted to be hosting this reception to acknowledge the first Foundation North Tohu Autaia Community Stars.
It’s an excellent way to mark the 30th birthday of Foundation North and to reflect on the impact of the billion dollars returned to the communities of Auckland and Northland since 1988.
Without that Foundation North funding, no doubt many worthwhile projects would not have progressed past an initial proposal. But that’s just part of the equation.
Without people like our Community Stars – people with vision and leadership qualities, whose work is driven by manaakitanga and aroha – those projects would not have been brought to fruition.
Every year, thousands of people across Auckland and Northland devote time and energy to make life better for everyone who lives here now – and for the people who will live here in the future.
Volunteers and leaders of voluntary and community organisations touch the lives of their fellow citizens in so many ways, and the impact of their work ripples out into the wider community.
Their leadership and enthusiasm drive cultural festivals that celebrate diversity and bring us together.
They run arts and entertainment programmes that encourage creativity, encourage new ways of seeing, and bring light and inspiration into people’s lives.
They plant trees to create forests for future generations to enjoy – and undertake the unglamorous work of keeping those forests free of weeds and predators – thereby providing habitats for our rare and precious native species.
They see fellow citizens with few opportunities – and do something about it – through programmes for youth, families in need, and people with different abilities.
They restore and conserve the special places that tell the story of this region and the people who live here.
They are innovators, finding solutions to the big social and environmental challenges of our times.
To the inaugural recipients of Tohu Autaia awards – this is your day. I am inspired by the accounts of what you have achieved. Thank you for helping to make our communities better, happier and more vibrant.
Your achievements have enhanced the lives of others and have shown what is possible, if we put our minds to it.
Thank you for all your good work – and sincere congratulations for your richly deserved awards.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa