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Speech

At his swearing in ceremony

Issue date: 
Thursday, 21 March 1996
Speaker: 
The Rt Hon Sir Michael Hardie Boys, GNZM, GCMG, QSO

Prime Minister and Mrs Bolger, Mr Speaker and Mrs Tapsell, members of the Executive Council, the Chief Justice and Lady Eichelbaum, ladies and gentlemen.

E te mana tangata, e te mana whenua, o te upoko o te ika nei, tae-atu hoki ki a koutou, nga ka-ranga-ranga-tanga maha, putanoa i te motu, tena ra koutou katoa.

I hardly need to say that for me and my family - and it must be so for many, many others - this is an astonishing day. That it should fall to me to become the representative of Her Majesty the Queen, our Queen, is almost beyond belief. Yet reality it obviously is; a reality, as my wife and I are acutely aware, that carries with it great responsibilities. The prospect is somewhat daunting. But we enter upon it with a sense of adventure; for interesting and challenging days will certainly lie ahead.

We are conscious too of the high standards that have been set in all facets of the vice-regal office by those who have preceded us. I would pay particular tribute to Dame Catherine Tizard, who brought to the role a warmth, a charm and a vitality that I as a mere male, ageing at that, cannot hope to emulate. Thus any invitation to leap from an aeroplane, or anywhere else in the sky, will be thankfully declined.

Of course, each of my predecessors has brought the distinctive touch of their own background and personality. So it will be with us. We can only be ourselves; and such as we are we today pledge to the service of this land we love, and to which we owe our very being.

Prime Minister, I must express to you and your colleagues, indeed to all members of the House, our gratitude for the confidence you have placed in us. We shall strive to ensure it has not been misplaced. Our thanks too, to all who have gathered today to show your support and goodwill; to the representatives of the armed forces constituting the guard of honour and to the Band of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, for your splendid parade; and to the tangata whenua for your welcome. May I say to you that I grew up on the cliffs above Evans Bay, and the shores and the waters of this city's great harbour, Te Whanganui a Tara, where I spent much of my boyhood, are very dear to me.

My wife can claim an even stronger connection with Wellington, and a longer family connection with New Zealand, than I. For not only did she grow up in this city, but her great grandfather was Octavius Hadfield, Wellington's second bishop, who in partnership with the great chief Te Rauparaha was instrumental in the building at Otaki of Rangiatea, for the whole land a symbol and act of reconciliation between maori and pakeha. The destruction of that magnificent church last October was nothing less than a tragedy. But the sacred soil brought by Tainui from the shrine of Ra'iatea in the great migration still remains, and in the same spirit in which Rangiatea was built on that soil, it will surely rise again. For like all positive human relationships, reconciliation is an ongoing commitment.

When I was sworn in as a judge, I said that I found my inspiration, my challenge, in the words of the Old Testament prophet Micah. I still do. He said, "what does the lord require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your god." Those words I think express the essence of true leadership, indeed of true greatness; and they apply not just to an individual, but also to a nation.

A nation and its people will do justice by ensuring that all are treated alike, not only as to their rights and their obligations, but also in being given the opportunity to develop to their full potential. A nation and its people will love mercy by guarding the weak from exploitation and by eliminating poverty and underprivilege of all kinds. They will walk humbly by recognising the common humanity of us all, that each of us has a place in the land, and that we are all part of a greater creation that it is our duty to cherish, not our right to plunder.

The tides of history have brought us all to these fair shores. We are none of us responsible for those tides, but we are their beneficiaries, privileged to share with one another our diverse inheritances of tradition and culture. We are all part of this land, as it is part of us. In it, we all belong together.

In our anthem, God Defend New Zealand, we sing what is really a prayer, that this land may be good and great. Let us strive together to ensure that that is so.

E ki ana te korero, (there is a saying) "whaia e koe te iti kahurangi" (pursue that which you most desire). Waiho tenei hei whainga ma tatou katoa.

Kia ora, ano tatou katoa.

Last updated: 
Friday, 9 January 2009

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