Commonwealth Games Official Team Function 3 April 2018
Kia ora tātou katoa,
and in the language of the Yugambeh people, Jingeri.
Greetings to you all. It’s wonderful to be here at the very start of such an exciting time.
I am here – first in my capacity as Patron of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
David and I are also here as New Zealand’s chief Commonwealth Games cheerleaders, representing our fellow citizens who are following the competition from home.
And thirdly, I am here in my role as New Zealand’s representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, our Head of State, and Head of the Commonwealth.
Throughout her reign, the Queen has been strongly committed to the ideals of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Games are one of the most highly valued expressions of those shared ideals. You come here as proud members of a national team, and through this competition, you will promote and foster the fellowship between the 70 nations and territories represented at these Games.
Congratulations to all the athletes here today for making our national team. With 251 competitors, I understand that this is the largest number of athletes we have ever sent to the Commonwealth Games.
We have a number of firsts to celebrate here:
the inclusion for the first time of beach volleyball and the women’s sevens.
Also the para-triathlon and the wheelchair marathon, which are part of the largest ever programme of para-sports at Commonwealth Games.There will be 38 events over seven sports.I’m sure the wheelchair marathon, through the streets of The Gold Coast, will be an exciting event to watch and to participate in.
And I am delighted that for the first time there are the same number of events for women and men.
For many of you, this will be your first Commonwealth Games; others are attending for their second, third, or fourth Games – and it is amazing that Dame Valerie Adams is aiming for her fourth successive gold medal in the Women’s Shotput. This would be an extraordinary achievement, making Commonwealth Games history.
With New Zealand Sportsman of the Year Tom Walsh recently making the world’s longest throw for 15 years, he must be hot favourite for the Men’s Shotput Gold medal. Who knows, putting the shot may soon become our new national sport!
Whatever the results, this will be a life-changing time for all our athletes – and you have earned a place in our history books.
Over the next 11 days, you will meet fellow competitors from the Commonwealth.
Like you, they have dedicated thousands of hours in training.
Like you, they have exhibited the discipline and work ethic required to harness and develop raw talent.
Like you, they have proud friends, family and supporters here and at home, willing them on to go that little bit further, little bit higher, little bit faster – with the goal of reaching a personal best, a national record, a medal, a Commonwealth record or a World record.
As you face the prospect of the toughest and most demanding of competition, I hope you will be guided by the spirit of the whakatauki
Ko te pae tawhiti whaia, kia tata,
ko te pae, tata whakamaua, kia tina
Seek out distant horizons, and cherish those that you attain.
On behalf of all New Zealanders, I wish you all the very best in the days ahead.
Your sporting achievements are a source of great national pride, and this competition brings us all together in wishing you well.