E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
In the times we live in, some people might measure their worth by the number of likes they get on their Facebook page.
The events of the last few weeks are a reminder that a person’s worth is best measured by the good that they do for their family, friends and wider community – as expressed in this whakatauki:
He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata
Goodwill towards others is a precious treasure.
More than ever before, we have reason to value compassion and kindness and the people who live those values in their work – paid and unpaid.
I count it a great privilege, in my role as Governor-General, to be given opportunities like today’s award ceremony, where we can give due recognition for the work of such people.
People whose efforts are directed towards making life that much better for their fellow citizens, who put in hours of time, who galvanise others to do likewise, and who do all this not for reward or recognition – but because they know that it’s the right thing to do.
Pat Wilkes is clearly one of those people – and fully deserving of Life Membership of the Child Cancer Foundation.
No doubt first-hand experience of childhood cancer in the family gives a person a deep understanding of the stresses and strains that such a diagnosis brings to both the young patient and their family.
It’s another step to use those insights to find practical ways of bringing comfort, relief and hope to other families.
And you have done that, Pat.
Thank you for your dedication and commitment.
I also acknowledge the tremendous dedication of the staff and volunteers at the Child Cancer Foundation, and all the people who help fund that work.
The advocacy, education, and support provided to families is invaluable – but so too is the support of research to find new and improved treatment options.
I imagine there is particularly keen interest in the Precision Paediatric Cancer Project, and high hopes that there will be significant breakthroughs in the years ahead.
In addition, the Project will build valuable capability in clinical research in New Zealand.
I look forward to hearing about its progress and wish everyone associated with the Child Cancer Foundation and the Project all the very best.
Kia ora, kia kaha, huihui tātou katoa, and please enjoy the hospitality of the House.