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 Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House Wellington.
It is a great pleasure for David and me to have you join us for this very special occasion as we celebrate the work of Matairangi Mahi Toi Artist in Residence, Lindah Lepou.
One of the roles of the Governor-General is to support and encourage the things that are important in our culture. Artistic expression is one of the ways in which we tell the “story of us” and it’s important that all facets of our increasingly diverse population are included in that narrative.
The creative work of New Zealand’s Māori and Pasifika artists provides the beating heart of our cultural expression.
As we give thought to our identity and our place in the world in the 21st century, we are embracing bold new works that seek to incorporate and interpret our various cultures in new and interesting ways.
Matairangi Mahi Toi, with its much needed focus on Māori and Pasifika artists, has a valuable part to play in this process. I am delighted that Massey University has given the office of Governor-General and Government House the opportunity to be involved.
Working together, we have been able to offer two things that are most helpful for artists - practical support and precious time. By providing these things, we give them space to create as well as offering them the unusual privilege of being able to live in the grounds of Government House.
Selection as the Matairangi Mahi Toi Artist in Residence is validation for the recipients, an indication of a mature career and a sign that earlier promise is being fulfilled. Lindah Lepou’s selection as the second artist in residence to work here, comes at a wonderful time in her career as she celebrates 25 years of creative endeavour.
Working in the space where art and fashion intertwine, Lindah’s pieces make beautiful statements about culture and identity.
It has been a pleasure to have her living here in the grounds and to be able to talk to her regularly about her work. I’m delighted to report that our dog Coco was blissfully unaware of the presence of Tinky [Ms Lepou’s cat] – so no unseemly territorial squabbles broke out.”
I am looking forward to seeing what Lindah’s time at Government House has inspired. My intention has always been for Government House to be a living house, where we celebrate this country’s art, music and culture. I’m delighted to be able to use it as a showcase for Lindah’s work and hope that we can do the same for future artists in residence.
Thank you Lindah for sharing your art with us and congratulations on 25 years of achievement in your career. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa