A Salaam Aleikum
Kia ora koutou
Thank you very much for inviting me here today to celebrate the opening of your magnificent new school building.
Today is a very special day for everyone here – your Principal, your teachers, the children, and perhaps most of all, the members of the Algoritmi Trust. It is wonderful to see your dream for an Islamic school in a purpose-built complex become a reality.
I congratulate the members of the Trust. It must be so satisfying to know that all that hard work was worth it, and to see the bright smiles of the children.
Some of you students might be wondering exactly why I am here – just what my role is as the Governor-General.
In simple terms, I am appointed by Queen Elizabeth, who is our Queen and our Head of State, to represent her in New Zealand.
I carry out many of the duties that Queen Elizabeth would undertake if she lived here.
After a general election, I swear in the new Prime Minister and Cabinet members to form the new Government. I also sign all of our legislation once it is passed by Parliament, to enable it to become the law.
I also officially welcome all visiting international Heads of State to our country. Recently this has included the Presidents of Indonesia, Ireland and Korea, and the Kings of Jordan, the Netherlands and Tonga. I also meet with all new ambassadors to New Zealand before they begin their duties.
Each year I hold investiture ceremonies and award medals to around 350 people who are recognised in our Queens Birthday and New Years Honours Lists for their significant achievements in leadership or service to our country or for their outstanding service in supporting their communities.
I am the Patron of around 130 different charities – ranging from St John’s, Scouts, Guides and many other organisations that look after people in need.
Another part of my role is to represent New Zealand overseas. For example, last week I went to England for 75th anniversary of D-Day, when allied forces, including New Zealanders, began a successful attack on the German troops occupying France. We commemorate D-Day as an important step in bringing an end to the Second World War in Europe.
Many other Heads of State (such as the Presidents of the United States and France) and Prime Ministers from countries such as Canada and Australia were there too, as well as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
Yet another part of my role is to visit communities around New Zealand to help them celebrate important occasions – such as the opening of a new school, which is why I am delighted to be here today.
I have a special interest in education because both my parents were primary school teachers. When I was a baby, they were working in a small country school and my cot was at the back of my mother’s classroom.
School was an exciting place for me, because I grew up with older children who were doing exciting things and learning something new every day. All I wanted was to be able to join in what they were doing.
My message to you older students is to do what you can to help the younger ones. They will be looking up to you to see how you learn and work and play with others. You can be good role models for them.
This school community includes children who come from many different countries and cultures, but you are joined together by your shared beliefs and values and you are also now all New Zealanders.
Whatever faith New Zealanders have, we all share a connection to nature and our environment.
We all must look after our planet and the many different species that we share it with, because it gives us what we need to survive and prosper – air, water, food, and a place to live and work.
So my second message today is please think hard about how you can cut down on making waste and in particular how you can use less plastic, because it’s killing our fish and our birds, and it’s not good for us either.
If every single one of us takes care to reduce the rubbish we make, we can make a difference for everyone, to help keep our planet healthy, and keep ourselves healthy too.
My best wishes go to everyone here today, especially to the children.
Work hard, make your parents and teachers proud, and follow your dreams.
Kia ora tatou katoa - Thank you.