Kei aku rangatira o Ngai Tahu, o Ngati Moki, tena koutou.
Tena koutou nga kaitiaki o Waihora,
tenei o nga pataka kai, rongonui.
E koa ana ahau i ta koutou mahi tahi, me nga Kaunihera.
Kia manawanui, kia toa.
Tena tatau katoa.
I acknowledge the leaders of Ngai Tahu and Ngati Moki.
You are indeed the kaitiaki of Lake Ellesmere, a resource of great renown.
I am pleased to see you working together with the local Councils.
Good luck, I wish you every success.
Thank you for your warm welcome to David and me. It is a privilege to be here in this beautiful place and to acknowledge the mana of this historic settlement.
I reflect on how much it must have changed in the years since the role I occupy was created by Queen Victoria in 1840.
And I reflect on how successive Governors-General have taken on the responsibility of honouring and maintaining the historic partnership created between the Crown and iwi with the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
So it is only right that I should begin my three-day visit to Canterbury by coming to one of the earliest places of human settlement in this area.
I am delighted that we have this opportunity to visit Te Waihora, your own wahi tapu as well as a place of international ecological significance for the diversity and abundance of its wild life.
We are eager to learn of the work of the Te Waihora Co-governance Group for the restoration and protection of the lake and the Taumutu wetlands.
Your goals fit perfectly with my own strategic priorities. During my term in office, I want to highlight areas where New Zealanders are contributing to the public good.
Our wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet are dependent on us all thinking carefully about how we use the earth’s resources, how we deal with waste, and how we preserve our environment.
As we all know, to our cost, human beings have been remarkably efficient at destroying ecosystems and driving other species to extinction.
It’s a tragic legacy of human occupation of the planet, and as you have recognised, we must do whatever it takes to heal the ecosystem ‘ki uta ki tai’.
We now have a better understanding of ecological balance, where every plant, animal and bird plays its part.
We are also better at measuring things. Data helps us understand where changes need to be made.
And we are innovative, so we can look for ways to mitigate the harm we have done and reduce harm in the future.
But the most important thing to change is our mind-set, at every level of society, so we share a common goal of restoring balance and maintaining it for the generations to come.
Clearly, kaitiakitanga of our precious landscape and waterways is a collective responsibility. So I am looking forward to finding out how your partnership in Te Waihora catchment, drawing on both matauranga Māori and scientific methods, is making a positive difference.
I wish you all the very best as you work to restore the mauri of Te Waihora and return it to its previous state as a significant mahinga kai.
As you take on this challenge, know that future generations will see the work that you are doing at this time as a significant turning point in the history of this region, and will be for ever grateful for your efforts.