Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Nau mai, haere mai rā ki Te Whare Kawana ki Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House Wellington.
I specifically acknowledge: His Excellency Mr Mario Bot, High Commissioner for Canada; and Mr Graeme Wheeler, Governor of the Reserve Bank - tēnā korua.
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Government House today, to launch the new $100, $50 and $20 notes.
This past year there has been some pretty vigorous debate about the symbols that best represent New Zealand’s identity. The absence of debate about the Reserve Bank’s refresh of our paper currency has probably been appreciated by the Bank.
Our currency – the Kiwi – our banknotes and coins are the national devices that are most frequently accessed by our citizens.
They reflect who and what we value and remember - our treasures, our taonga - and they portray what we want others to know about our place in the world.
Today we have another one of our precious taonga with us, in the flesh. It is most likely that this is the first time a Kārearea – a New Zealand falcon - has been at a function in this ballroom.
It is a delight to see it here as an example of the native fauna depicted on our bank-notes – creatures that are unique to our country, that are part of our sense of place, our sense of home and which deserve our protection.
In this, my final year as Governor-General, the focus of our programme at Government House is “science and innovation – looking to the future”. I have had the opportunity to go to our universities and research institutes to see, among other things, what is being done to nurture our natural environment and to protect our native fauna.
During these visits I have also seen innovative solutions to long-standing scientific questions and problems. It is great to know that our crisp new bank-notes, as well as being vibrant and beautifully designed, also have world-class security features.
It is worth noting that the status of science and innovation is reflected in our currency. Most notably, on our largest value note – the $100 note. Sir Ernest Rutherford’s image on it reflects the international standing he attained for his ground-breaking contributions to science and technology.
If we turn to the $50 note, Sir Apirana Ngata’s image acknowledges his profound and lasting contribution to Aotearoa/New Zealand: politically, socially, culturally and economically. His image also serves to remind us of the importance of our bicultural roots, and of the links between the past, our present and our future.
And with the $20 note, a note we are most likely to use or to get money at an ATM or at the checkout, it is appropriate that it depicts Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty the Queen’s image has been on our bank-notes and coins longer than any other of our sovereigns.
Queen Elizabeth represents service, continuity, unity and stability. She helps to reinforce our connections with the wider world, and our links with the other nations of the Commonwealth.
I am looking forward totelling Her Majesty about the new notes when I see her next month.
In closing, I, like other New Zealanders will, appreciate the quality, sharpness and enhanced integrity of the new notes. Without further ado I am delighted to officially launch New Zealand’s new $20, $50 and $100 notes.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.