Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.
Kia ora tātou katoa.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all.
I specifically acknowledge: Race Relations Commissioner and guest speaker, Dame Susan Devoy; Charlotte Gendall, Kim Porthouse and Noreen McMahon and other members of the Wellington Down Syndrome Association executive, and Forde and Pam Clarke, parents of the late Frances Clarke - tēnā koutou katoa.
It is a great pleasure for David and me to welcome you all to Government House. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to host this very special ceremony.
One of the major components of my role as Governor-General is recognising the achievements of New Zealanders. It’s important to all of us that people who make a contribution to their community or who set themselves ambitious targets are congratulated for what they’ve achieved. It says something about who we are as people and the things we value.
Over the last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of conferring honours on behalf of the Queen and I’ve also travelled to Christchurch to present awards to young people who had completed Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Gold, Queen’s Scouts, Queen’s Guides and St John Grand Prior Awards.
Like those ceremonies, the Frances Clarke Memorial Awards recognise special endeavour, effort and accomplishment on the part of the recipients. The five young people receiving their awards today have met goals, committed themselves to doing their best and made a real contribution at home, at school and at work.
To our recipients Pomare, Alice, Wade, Jacob and Ella. Your successes give us a greater understanding of what can be achieved by young people with Down Syndrome. Your attitude, spirit and ability to meet challenges offer a great example for others to follow. You have every reason to feel proud of what you have achieved so far and I’m sure there will be plenty more opportunities and experiences for you to explore in future.
All successful people have a team behind them who have helped them attain their goals. Each of our award recipients has family, friends, teachers, bosses and others who have offered support and encouragement along the way. Today we’re acknowledging their contribution and the part they have played in Pomare, Alice, Wade, Jacob and Ella’s achievements.
We’re also celebrating the work of Rose Kirkup and Nicholas Lane. Rose and Nicholas’s performing arts company “Everybody Cool Lives Here”, is a valuable artistic outlet for under-represented groups, including disabled people.
The company’s work challenges perceptions and gives disabled people, and others, the opportunity to be seen and heard in a new way. Rose and Nicholas – your commitment to inclusiveness and diversity has brought an exciting new dimension to performance theatre. Your passion for your work and gift of creative space for others has offered much to the Down Syndrome community.
Congratulations to all our award recipients today. I look forward to hearing more about your achievements later in the ceremony.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.