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Police Dinner

Issue date: 
Sunday, 26 June 2016
Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO

Nga rangatira o te Pirihimana o Aotearoa, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.  Nau mai, haere mai rā ki Te Whare Kāwana ki Te Whanganui-a-Tara.  Leaders of the New Zealand Police, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House Wellington.

I specifically acknowledge Hon Judith Collins and Mr David Wang Tung – tēnā korua; and the Commissioner of New Zealand Police, Mike Bush and Mrs Viki Bush - tēnā korua.

It is a great pleasure for Janine and me to welcome you all to Government House this evening.

In our final months at Government House, we are taking the opportunity to acknowledge the leadership and service of people in our public institutions. 

Last week we hosted a dinner for the judiciary.  Last night we hosted public service chief executives and next week we will host the leaders of the New Zealand Defence Force.  

Tonight, it is an opportunity for Janine and me to acknowledge and thank you, the leaders of the men and women, sworn and non-sworn staff of the New Zealand Police.  

The links between the Vice-regal office and Police go back to the very beginning of New Zealand as a modern nation.  When my predecessor, William Hobson, came ashore in the Bay of Islands in 1840 six constables accompanied him as part of the official party. 

 And 176 years later, as the Crown’s 35th representative in New Zealand, I can say that stepping ashore at Waitangi, and overseas, with DPS support is still very much appreciated. 

Those constables who arrived here in 1840 would be astonished by the sophistication and complexity of criminal activity today.  What would be familiar is that the criminal mind is still devious, and that criminal behaviour is a lawbreaking behaviour. 

Equally they would be amazed to know the variety of roles policing in New Zealand entails.  They would be fascinated by dive squads, the special tactics group and police dogs wearing body armour – let alone women in front-line Police duties, officers with ancestry from all points on the planet and officers serving with the New Zealand Police overseas.  I can’t begin to imagine how they would react to the Running Man challenge. 

The 16th century Italian diplomat and political theorist, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote: “The main foundations of every state …are good laws and good arms. You cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow”.

We are fortunate to live in a country where our Police force is a good arm of the law.  In a country where inevitably the actions of the Police are closely scrutinised and commented on, people believe that our Policemen and Policewomen are professionals who act respectfully and with integrity and empathy and impartiality. 

In my previous roles in the military, I have worked with Police, particularly relating to NZDF support for police operations. 

As Governor-General, it has been a privilege to convey the community’s appreciation to members of the New Zealand Police when investing individual officers with Honours – whether it be for acts of bravery, or for their skills and contributions towards solving and preventing crime, or for keeping their communities running.  

It was a particular privilege to go to Christchurch in 2014 and honour individual Police officers who, at great risk to themselves, participated in rescue efforts following the Christchurch earthquake.  And while no Police officers lost their lives during the earthquake or subsequent operations, we do remember Pamela Brien who died in the CTV building.  

Police officers face considerable risks in preventing crime, apprehending criminals or saving the lives of others. 

Each September 29th, we remember the courage, professionalism and commitment of the 29 officers who have been killed on duty since 1886,  and the nearly 40 staff who have lost their lives while on duty. 

On behalf of all New Zealanders I want to acknowledge that every time a Police officer prevents a crime, rescues a child from abuse or neglect, turns a teen away from anti-social behaviour, or admonishes a speeding driver, they make our communities safer and better.

Tonight I also want to acknowledge husbands, wives, partners and friends.  You provide valuable encouragement, care and support behind the scenes.  I came across this short verse, which I think says it all: “A special kind of person: a cut above the rest.  That's a Police Officer's spouse, rating her or him the best”.

The Frenchman, author, soldier and statesman, Andre Malraux said “To command is to serve, nothing more, nothing less”.  On behalf of all New Zealanders, I thank you for the responsibilities that you bear while leading the men and women who work to keep our communities safe.

And so, finally, I invite you to join me in a toast to the New Zealand Police: Ladies and gentlemen - the men and women of the New Zealand Police who keep our communities safe.  

Kia ora huihui tātou katoa and please enjoy the hospitality of Government House.

Last updated: 
Sunday, 26 June 2016

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