Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
I’d like to begin by acknowledging: His Worship Tim Cadogan, Mayor of Central Otago; Mrs Julie Anderson, Director of Education Otago Southland; Ms Melissa Bell, Principal of Maniototo Area School; Mr Joe Ferdinands, former Principal; Joe Harawira, Kaumātua; and Rānui Ngārimu, Kuia.
And, of course, to all of the friends, family, supporters, donors, and – most importantly – students here this morning. Tēnā koutou katoa.
It’s my great pleasure to be here, in this beautiful part of Aotearoa New Zealand, for this very special occasion – for both Maniototo Area School, and the wider Maniototo community.
I’m going to begin by addressing some of the younger members of our audience here today – and promise you that I won’t speak for too long. I know what an exciting day this must be for you – and I wanted to thank you for inviting me to see your new school.
Some of you might be wondering who I am and what my job is. How many of you have heard of King Charles III?
King Charles is the King of England – but he is also the King of New Zealand. He lives on the other side of the world in England – and my job as Governor-General is to do his work for him here in New Zealand.
I meet all kinds of important people in my job, but if I can tell you a small secret – my favourite bit is meeting young people like you. I have two grandchildren and I know how important it is to have a happy time at school. I am really looking forward to seeing your classrooms and some of your work soon.
I know how much work has been put into this project, over such a long time – and what a big impact it will have on the school and wider community for many years to come. These buildings and grounds have clearly been designed and built with great thought and care – and I wish to acknowledge all those involved in that process.
It’s wonderful to think of all the learning and growth that will take place here in the years to come – all of the creativity, discovery, and – most importantly – fun.
I wish to encourage every student here today to enjoy and make the most of your journey of learning here in Maniototo. School was an extremely important and happy time in my life – a time when I came to better know myself, my interests, and the sort of person I hoped to become – which is one of the reasons I wanted to be here with you all today.
I hope you take everything that you learn in your years here, and use them for the good of your whānau, community, and Aotearoa New Zealand.
And I am sure, down whichever of life’s paths you follow, you will take with you a deep sense of pride in where you’ve come from – this beautiful part of our beautiful country – and share that pride with others.
I’ll leave you with the words of the whakataukī: ‘Whaia e koe te iti kahurangi; ki te tuoho koe, me mounga teitei. Seek the little treasure of your heart; if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.’
Or, perhaps, as Ralph Waldo Emerson so famously put it: ‘Hitch your wagon to a star.’
This school rebuild represents the work of many dedicated people, and carries the hopes and dreams of many more. I wish everyone here, all the very best for your future.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.