Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Kāwana ki te Whanganui-a-Tara. Kia ora tātou katoa.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I extend my warm greetings to you all. It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Government House.
Tonight is an opportunity to acknowledge the institutions and organisations that hold Vice-regal patronage, and through you, their representatives, to thank the people involved in them for the service they give for New Zealanders. And so, it’s a celebration of your endeavours and leadership – individually and collectively – to make a difference.
Five years ago, at the beginning of our term, one of our first duties was to review all the organisations that held Vice-regal patronage. As you may be aware, patronage does not carry over automatically from Governor-General term to Governor-General term. Each Governor-General is able to select the organisations they wish to support.
Some patronages we, Janine and I, hold jointly (9), some Janine holds separately (13), and others, like those you represent, I hold separately (153). In selecting our patronages, we chose organisations that we had an interest in, others because we assessed they are part of the fabric and heritage of Aotearoa - New Zealand.
You represent some of the organisations that were selected during that process. Some others are new to Vice-regal patronage. We hope your organisations have found the relationship beneficial.
Certainly, we have valued getting insights into what is happening in our communities, and the work our patronages do. We have enjoyed celebrating your special occasions like awards ceremonies, anniversaries and events, and supporting you in your work.
The nature of our role has meant we haven’t been able to attend every event we’ve been invited to. Where we have been unable to come along, we’ve appreciated the updates you’ve sent us. Long after we leave Government House, we’ll keep an interest in your organisations and keep an eye out for your activities.
The 175 patronages we hold cover everything from sport to the arts, to health and well-being, to conservation and the environment, and organisations that support our youth, our heritage, our veterans, financial literacy and the disabled.
While varied in scope, what your groups share is a willingness to make a difference, the desire to contribute to their communities and a commitment to serve and support others.
None of that would be possible without the support of individuals. People are the engine room of any organisation and many of our patronages are reliant on large numbers of people working in a purely voluntary capacity. Estimates of the value of voluntary work to the economy is in the billions of dollars – which makes a truism of volunteers being worth their weight in gold!