E ngā mana nui o te Tai Tokerau, tena koutou katoa.
Aku mihi nui i o kupu whakatau i ahau me taku hoa rangatira nei.
Tēnā koutou me ngā kaupapa nunui takea mai i tēnei takiwa
Tēnā koutou katoa tae atu hoki ki ngā iwi Pākehā me ngā iwi Tarara
Mihi mai whakatau mai
I acknowledge the Northern Iwi gathered here to day
Thank you for your words of welcome to David and me.
My congratulations on the many innovations in the district
Greetings to all of European and Dalmatian descent.
Thank you for this welcome.
I acknowledge the Honorable Kelvin Davis, Minister for Crown/Māori Relations and the Far North Mayor, His Worship the Honorable John Carter.
It is wonderful to be in a space that honours the diverse people of the Far North, from the Muriwhenua Tribes through to the new citizens we will welcome at this morning’s citizenship ceremony.
This is our third visit to Northland already this year, so we obviously can’t stay away!
As the fish depicted on the floor of this atrium reminds us, the head of the fish might be in Wellington, but it cannot swim without the help of the tail in the Far North.
Our first visit this year was for the commemorations to mark the 160th anniversary of the Maiki Hill Flagstaff, and the second was to Waitangi where, on the 4th of February, I was privileged to speak in front of the Whare Runanga in the Treaty Grounds.
I thought back to 1835, when Northern rangatira signed the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand – He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni, and in 1840, Te Tiriti o Waitangi – the Treaty of Waitangi.
My earliest predecessor, Governor Hobson, then took the Treaty to places for signing. He came here to Kaitaia on the 28th of April 1840, and 61 rangatira put their signatures on Te Tiriti, including Erenora Kaimanu, one of the few women who signed.
Most recently, my immediate predecessor, Sir Jerry Mateparae had the privilege of opening this magnificent building, in April 2012.
Governors-General will always have a special connection to Northland, and I am here to honour that connection.
After today’s citizenship ceremony, we will meet some of the younger citizens of Kaitaia at your primary school, and later we will learn about the great work being done to address health, housing and employment issues in Kaitaia.
Later, we are looking forward to visiting the Kai Ora honey operation, a family business inspired by the late Saana Murray, and learning about how her vision has helped it find a niche in the export market.
I am here to listen, to learn, to offer my support.
What I learn will go back with me to Wellington.
It will inform my weekly meetings with the Prime Minister and her Ministers – no pressure Kelvin – and it will be in my mind when I travel to other parts of New Zealand and overseas, representing New Zealand on State visits.
Governors-General have a surprising number of opportunities to ask questions, pass on what they have learned and promote what they have seen.
So thank you again for inviting us here today, and David and I look forward to meeting as many people as we can during our day here in Kaitaia.