Tihei mauri ora. Rau rangatira mā, o Ngāti Kahungunu o tēnei hohipera, mihi mai, karanga mai ki ahau ki tēnei hui. Tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou, kia ora tātou katoa. Distinguished guests and I acknowledge the leaders of Ngati Kahungunu and this hospital thank you for your welcome. In return I offer my warm greetings to you all.
I specifically acknowledge: Hon Craig Foss, Minister of the Crown; Ngahiwi Tomoana, Kaiwhakahaere of Ngāti Kahungunu and Deputy Chair of the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board; Meka Whaitiri, MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti; Dr Kevin Snee, CEO of the Hawkes Bay District Health Board; and the Most Reverend Pihopa William Brown Turei, Archbishop of Aotearoa - tēnā koutou katoa.
Thank you for inviting me and Janine here to this hospital. It is a unique memorial to New Zealand’s soldiers and I am delighted to be here on this special day.
This year is a year of significant anniversaries for our nation. It’s 175 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, 150 years since our government was centralised in Wellington, and 100 years since our troops went ashore at Gallipoli.
The marking of turning points in our nation’s history like the Great War give us the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a New Zealander and how the things we have collectively experienced have shaped as a nation. Reinstating the original name of this hospital, in a year when the fallen soldiers it commemorates are very much on our minds, is most appropriate.
Honouring those who have created our today is important. Stephen Ambrose, an American historian wrote: “The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope. Love of the past implies faith in the future”.
What you are honouring today in renaming the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital is the memory of the fallen and those who worked to establish this hospital. This hospital also stands as a testament to this community’s future.
Collective remembrance is important. Just as communities are shaped by events, they also influence future events. When the need for a proper hospital became evident in the early years of last century this community’s forefathers and foremothers made it happen. This hospital owes its existence to the patience, persistence and goodwill of dedicated people in the Hawkes Bay community who advocated and fundraised for it.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu captured the sentiment of what can be achieved when communities, no matter how small we may think our part is, work together. He said “It is important to know that each one of us can make a contribution. Too frequently we think we have to do spectacular things, and yet if we remembered that the sea is actually made up of drops of water, and each drop counts—each one of us can do our little where we are and it those little bits that can come together and can almost overwhelm the world.”
In a year when we are talking a lot about nationhood and what being a New Zealander means, it’s good to remember that along with the rights and privileges we enjoy there are also obligations and responsibilities for us in the community in which we live in.
The people who worked to get this hospital in the early part of the 20th Century, and those for whom it was dedicated - the young men from here – will undoubtedly be chuffed and honoured that this hospital has reclaimed its rightful and original name.
Their sacrifice and endeavour will never be forgotten.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa