Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.
Nau mai, haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kawana o Tamaki Makaurau.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House Auckland.
David and I are delighted to host Home and Family Counselling as you celebrate 125 years of service to the most vulnerable in the Auckland community.
Your organisation has had strong links with former Governors and Governors-General, beginning with the Earl of Glasgow in 1893, who accepted the position of President – and I am delighted to continue that tradition in the role of Patron.
It is amazing to reflect that Henry Wilding established “The New Zealand Society for the Protection of Women and Children” in the same year that women here finally gained the right to vote. He realised that attention was desperately needed to help women and children who had been abandoned, and who had suffered domestic abuse and violence.
In the early days, your organisation offered victims advice and practical assistance, and sought law reforms that would make women and children safer in their homes and in the streets. The Society had Court maintenance orders taken out against fathers and husbands, collected the funds weekly and passed them on to needy women and children.
Over the years, the Society’s advocacy contributed to the establishment of the Youth Court; the age of consent being raised from 14 to 16; and the criminalisation of incest. The Society also lobbied for the admission of women into the police force.
So there is much to thank you for.
125 years later, much as we would wish otherwise, your services are still very much in demand.
The scope of your work widened in the 1920s to include services for men and families and your services were extended to address a broader range of issues.
Your name has also changed several times, to reflect the evolution of your work and its current emphasis on professional counselling and education.
We are all aware of reports of increases in anxiety and stress-related illnesses in contemporary society, so professional counselling services are more important than ever.
Your vision of “Resilient people: thriving communities” can only be achieved if our citizens have the tools and the support to find the solutions they need.
It requires considerable training and expertise to be an effective counsellor – to be able to listen carefully and ask the right questions.
It takes skill and empathy to empower people to consider their options and choose a course of action that will work for them.
By making such services available to everyone in your community, you are living the spirit of this whakatauki:
Manaakitia te tangata ahakoa ko wai, ahakoa no hea
Take care of others, no matter who they are, no matter where they come from.
On behalf of your fellow citizens, I congratulate you on reaching your 125th year, I thank you for the wonderful service you continue to provide, and I wish you all the very best for your future work in the years ahead.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa and please enjoy the hospitality of the House.
I now invite the Chairman of Home and Family Counselling, Alan Brookbanks, to speak.