Rau rangatira mā, e nga tamariki o tēnei kura, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou, kia ora tātou katoa.
Good afternoon and thank you for giving us a lovely welcome in your last week of term, when I’m sure that you are busy thinking about the Christmas presents you will get in a week’s time, and what you are going to do in your holidays.
I am very proud to have these wonderful young athletes with me today. They have represented New Zealand at the international level and worked incredibly hard for the medals they have won: Holly Robinson, who throws the javelin;Matt Randall, who is a cyclist; Hugo Inglis, who plays hockey; and Donna Wilkins who plays both netball and basketball.
We have brought the Queen’s Baton with us today. You might have used a baton yourselves when you do relay races, and this baton is a bit like that.
What makes it special is that this Baton has a message from the Queen inside it and it has been passed from athlete to athlete in Commonwealth countries around the world.
Holly, Matt, Hugo and Donna will all have that honour in New Zealand, along with other top athletes, past and present, and members of the public.
The Queen’s Baton will end up in Australia because that’s where the next Commonwealth Games will be held in April. By then it will have been on a 230,000 kilometre voyage.
And that’s when the message from the Queen will finally be read out.
There are over 50 countries in the Commonwealth. Some of them are big, like Canada, and some are very small, like Tonga.
All together, the people in Commonwealth countries make up about one-third of all the people in the world. Every four years, their best athletes come together to compete in the Commonwealth Games.
As Governor-General, I will represent the people of New Zealand at the Gold Coast Games next year, but there will be lots of other New Zealanders there too, to cheer on our athletes.
Some of you may be wondering what else a Governor-General does, apart from going to the Commonwealth Games.
The Queen is our Head of State, but she lives in England. So she appoints someone to represent her in New Zealand – the Governor-General.
If you want to see what a Governor-General actually does day by day, look at my Facebook page, or my feed on Instagram or Twitter. Or you can go to my website to find out more.
And when you come to Wellington, I hope that you will come to our Visitor Centre and tour Government House, which is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful buildings.
There isn’t time to take the Queen’s Baton everywhere in New Zealand. This is the only school that is seeing it in New Zealand, so it will be something to tell your family about tonight.
Holly and Donna are going to talk to you now. I hope you listen carefully, because who knows, there might be someone here at Arrowtown School who is inspired to follow in their footsteps, to train hard, and reach the top in the sport that they are good at.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa and I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas and a great holiday.