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.
Thank you for inviting me to open this new facility. It’s a big change from what was previously here and a quantum leap from what existed in the very earliest days of your organisation. There’s quite a contrast between this and the photos I’ve seen of the tiny former railways hut that was the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service’s first home.
Every organisation has to start somewhere. And as we have seen, the little prefab hut led to better premises and ultimately to the 21st century facility we stand in today. While the buildings have changed, let’s not forget it’s the meaning of the mission that is paramount – and for the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service, that mission is saving lives.
It’s appropriate that the opening of the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service’s newest headquarters comes in the organisation’s 90th anniversary year. Anniversaries are always important signposts. They allow us a moment to look back at what’s happened and celebrate how far we’ve come. Certainly the Service can take pride at what it has achieved during its history.
Alongside the numerous lives saved and the commitment to keeping the beach safe, there is the participation in competition, the joy that comes from seeing generations make their way through the ranks of surf lifesaving and the achievement of keeping the organisation running and in good financial health.
The last one is particularly important. Before a project like a new headquarters can start, the funding has to be obtained. That’s a testing process that can push even the most robust organisations to their limits.
I acknowledge the funding organisations who have helped bring this project to fruition. I can’t help noticing as I travel around Tauranga that the same names keep popping up in relation to funding. You are fortunate to have such involved and forward thinking community funding organisations behind you.
Then there are also the many hundreds of person hours required to get a project of this nature over the line. Everyone from staff to members will have played a role and for many of them, the time they spent was their gift to you. Those volunteer hours are in many ways as valuable as cash and represent the ownership of and aroha felt for this organisation.
The future looks bright for the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service. With 90 years of service to New Zealanders under your belt, you look set for at least another 90 more.
Congratulations on the opening of this new facility and all the best for your future.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa