Enga mana, enga reo, enga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.
Kia ora tātou katoa.
Thank you for inviting me this morning to join in this celebration of culture and diversity.
One of the great privileges I have as Governor-General is the chance to meet people across New Zealand, from all walks of life, and from all kinds of backgrounds, and it just confirms how fortunate we are to live in such a multicultural country.
Wellingtonians will know what I am talking about. One of the reasons why this is such a wonderful place to live is the range of cultural experiences we have here.
We are fortunate that our forebears chose to come here, from all points on the globe, and start their lives afresh.
In time, they became proud New Zealanders, but they maintained something of their own cultural traditions, their languages, and their food cultures.
At citizenship ceremonies, I like to remind new citizens that becoming a New Zealander does not mean severing links with their past.
There is no fixed New Zealand identity – it will always be a work in progress, and will evolve in a positive way if we, individually and collectively, behave with empathy, generosity and respect towards each other.
By upholding justice and the rule of law, and by striving for societies that are fair and offer opportunities for all, the benefits of progress and prosperity can be both multiplied and shared.
Hence my unreserved support for the theme of this year’s Race Relations Day: “Stand up for each other” . We need to be vigilant against racial bias, unconscious and conscious – and prepared to express our concern when we see it.
At such an event as this, I have in mind the inspirational words of Princess Te Puea:
Me ka moemoeā au ko au anake,
me ka moemoeā tātou
ka taea e tātou.
If I were to dream alone, only I would benefit. If we were to dream together, we could achieve anything.
Celebrating diversity and difference is also about learning about each other’s dreams for the future.
Today is very much part of that process. My thanks to the key partners in today’s event – the Multicultural Council of Wellington and New Zealand, the Human Rights Commission and the Wellington City Council, for bringing us all together.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa