E ngā iwi o Tauranga Moana
Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi te Rangi, me Ngāti Pūkenga
Tēnā koutou katoa.
E hari koa ana ahau, te hoki mai ano
Ki waenganui i a koutou.
Nā reira, e Te Awanui o Tauranga Moana
Karanga mai, mihi mai.
My greetings to the iwi of Tauranga Moana
Ngati Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi, me Ngati Pukenga.
I am very pleased to be here again amongst you.
I acknowledge the call of Te Awanui Tauranga Harbour.
Thank you for your powerful and warm welcome. I’m especially delighted to have this opportunity to visit you again. I remember my first visit to this marae, some ten years ago, when many of you gathered to welcome me as a newly appointed crown negotiator for your Treaty settlements.
It was on that occasion that I first met your kaumatua and Rangatira Morehu Ngatoko. I still remember how, despite his fragile demeanour and gentle voice, he nevertheless commanded the room when he spoke. I subsequently felt his generosity of spirit and his aroha.
I always looked forward to seeing him and I was delighted when he, along with several other of your kuia, kaumatua and iwi negotiators, attended my swearing in as Governor General in 2016. I feel his absence today, but I also feel his spirit, his wairua in this, his own marae.
The treaty settlement process was difficult for everyone. Understandably so – the grievances of your iwi went back many decades, indeed centuries.
Despite the challenges, I have much to thank you for. What you gave me was an understanding that the history of Aotearoa was very different to that which I had learnt at school.
It was through listening to and reading your stories that I began to understand the extent of the injustices suffered by your Hapū and iwi.
I remember walking the battle grounds of Pukehinahina and Te Ranga and hearing of the terrible experiences suffered by your ancestors there. Of the land confiscations here in Tauranga and the unfair alienation of other lands such as the Te Puna and Katikati blocks. And the twentieth century compulsory acquisitions of land for infrastructure projects such as the airport and port, as well as sewerage treatment and rubbish disposal.
I also started to learn about tikanga and the importance of Te Reo. All of these experiences have stayed with me and have informed my role as Governor General, where I have the privilege of engaging with iwi throughout Aotearoa.
I have said, on numerous occasions, that my experiences as a crown negotiator were among the hardest and yet most rewarding experiences I have had.
I was determined that I should visit Tauranga during my term and that my powhiri should be at this beautiful marae, where my education and some lifelong friendships, began.
I’m also delighted to be able to introduce my husband David to you and for him to have the opportunity to meet you.
I understand that later this morning there are going to be some presentations on iwi business and community initiatives. I am very interested to find out more about your ventures and how they are shaping up.
I’m excited to see how Maori throughout the country are getting stuck into the hard mahi of securing the social and economic future for their iwi. It would seem that the 21st century has plenty of challenges to throw at us and we need to be agile, smart and prepared to deal with uncertainty in our futures.
Thank you once again for your beautiful and meaningful welcome. I feel privileged to have this relationship with you and I am happy to see you are all in good heart.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa