Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.
Kia ora tātou katoa.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all.
I specifically acknowledge: Former Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand and Lady Susan Satyanand; Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps; Members of the House of Representatives and Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown - tēnā kotou katoa.
It’s a pleasure to be here today to help launch Wellington’s Commonwealth Walkway, the newest addition to a very special network of walkways around the world.
This walkway is a link in a chain that will eventually encompass 100 routes in 100 cities dotted throughout the 71 nations and territories that make up the Commonwealth. It also commemorates a special moment in the life of this city.
At last year’s celebrations of Wellington’s 150th Anniversary, Sir Anand Satyanand helped unveil the very first walkway marker at the Wai-Titi landing in front of Parliament. 30 other roundels now mark other places of significance around the city. The placing of the final roundel here, outside Government House, will knit together our history and our built heritage, parks and monuments. This walkway tells a story of Wellington and the people, places and events that are important to us. It’s a lasting reminder of the first 150 year chapter of this city’s history.
The Commonwealth Walkway began with the Queen’s Walkway in the United Kingdom, commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee.
The placing of the last marker at Government House consolidates that link with the Queen. It’s a nice touch that the walkway begins, on the map at least, at the home of the Queen’s New Zealand representatives.
I’ve already noted that Sir Anand, one of my predecessors as Governor-General unveiled the first marker, while I have the honour of placing the last, thereby underlining our continuing relationship with our sovereign and our links with the other nations who share her as their Head of State.
These relationships were reinforced again last year during the visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. During that visit, they unveiled another of the markers at Pukeahu War Memorial Park. I’m sure they and Her Majesty will be delighted to hear the Wellington Commonwealth Walkway has been completed. I hope it will be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
Around the world these walkways are transforming people’s experiences of their cities. It’s a novel way of encouraging people to get outside and take a closer look at the things that surround them. For visitors, it’s a way of getting a sense of the place, its history, landmark buildings and the people who live here.
As other walkways are launched, both in New Zealand and in other parts of the world, it will be something for all people in the Commonwealth to be proud of.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.