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.
I particularly acknowledge Sir Graeme Dingle,
Jo-anne Wilkinson, Lady Dingle
Brian Corban, Graeme Dingle Foundation Board Chair and trustees
Sir Michael Friedlander
Sir James Wallace; and
Members of the Hillary family
Thank you for inviting David and me to share this special day with you all.
We all want New Zealand children to have the best start in life, but sadly this is not the experience of far too many.
If communities, government, and business work together, we can turn our negative statistics around.
The Graeme Dingle Foundation is a key player in these efforts and I consider it a privilege to be your Patron.
In 2019, young people are becoming increasingly visible in movements for change in Aotearoa, whether it’s addressing the impact of the climate crisis or becoming involved in local government elections, young people are making their views and voices heard.
It’s been inspiring to see their motivation, commitment and organisational skills, and to know that they are determined to make a positive difference.
I like to think that programmes like those offered by the Graeme Dingle Foundation are helping to lay the groundwork for this kind of active participation by our young citizens.
With improved behaviour and academic outcomes, with the ability to set goals, with more self-confidence and resilience – our rangatahi are so much better placed to develop their own potential.
So I offer a huge thank you to the dedicated mentors, leaders and volunteers who make that transformation possible.
Having attended several of these events, I know the stories of the award winners will be truly inspiring, because they prove that determined individuals can, with the right support, overcome significant challenges and disadvantage.
It must be extremely rewarding for everyone involved to hear about these journeys towards wellbeing and purpose, and to witness the confidence, joy and optimism of young people who have successfully completed Kiwi Can, Stars, Project K, Career Navigator or MYND.
And very satisfying to know that the impact doesn’t stop there. That families, schools, communities and workplaces will all be benefiting from the impacts of these programmes.
You are helping to make New Zealand a better place for all of us.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is the opportunity to meet New Zealanders doing wonderful things – and to thank them, on behalf of their fellow citizens.
Tonight, it’s Sir Graeme and Lady Joanne, who have been such effective catalysts for change for thousands of young New Zealanders.
The great Nelson Mandela once said that
History will judge us by the difference we make to the everyday lives of children.
That is a standard that you both pass with flying colours.