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 members of this evening’s official party: Sam Cliffe, CEO of the NZ Blood Service; Fiona Pimm, Board Chair; Dr Sarah Morley, Chief Medical Officer. And, of course, to all of the donors, recipients, friends, and family here this evening. Tēnā koutou katoa.
It’s my great pleasure to welcome you all to Government House Auckland for this very special celebration of 25 years of the New Zealand Blood Service.
I’ve been in the role of Governor-General for nearly two years now – and, in that time, I’ve had the great joy and privilege of meeting many New Zealanders and New Zealand organisations in communities across the country, motivated by their desire to help others.
The New Zealand Blood Service is such an organisation. For 25 years, through your team of dedicated staff and volunteers, you have been doing vital work to help New Zealanders when they need it most.
I know that your role has evolved a great deal over these past 25 years, and that your work extends well beyond the collection of blood – now also hosting the New Zealand Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the country’s National Heart Valve Bank, and Organ Donation New Zealand.
I also know that the New Zealand Blood Service could not function without the generosity of so many ordinary New Zealanders, who choose to donate blood products without knowing who they might save, and under what circumstances – as the New Zealand Blood Service puts it so well: for ‘unseen emergencies’ – whether for accident victims, cancer patients, pregnant women, babies, or children.
I was very touched to read in your annual report the story of Rachel and Wendy – friends since they were teenagers, and diagnosed with leukaemia a day apart. The blood products they received from donors across New Zealand allowed them to be treated and recover from their treatment – and has meant they’ve been able to lead happy, healthy lives with families and children of their own. Twenty-five years later, Rachel and Wendy remain great friends, and grateful to those New Zealanders who donated and saved their lives.
One of my key strategic priorities as Governor-General, and indeed, one of the priorities I have kept throughout my career, is oranga – seeking wellbeing for all – and to support and shine a light on those organisations who share that goal. This aspiration is expressed in the whakataukī: ‘Me mahi tahi tātou, mo te oranga o te katoa. We must work together for the wellbeing of all.’
You may be interested to know that, just yesterday morning, I attended the opening of the New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science South Pacific Congress – and, in many ways, it is fitting that these two events should happen in such close succession, given the strong relationship that exists between your two organisations.
It highlighted to me once again that so much of the work done across the country to support New Zealanders’ wellbeing – in organisations such as yours, and by people such as our highly skilled medical and clinical scientists – happens without much fanfare or recognition.
I wish to take this opportunity to once again offer my sincere thanks to the New Zealand Blood Service – on 25 years in the service of your fellow New Zealanders. I wish you many more successful years ahead.
I’d now like to invite Sam Cliffe, CEO of the NZ Blood Service, and our MC for the evening, to the stage.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.