E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi nui ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou
A warm welcome to Government House this afternoon.
I specifically acknowledge Austin Forbes, Simon Duncan, and the six recipients of silver medals for acts of bravery who are with us today.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth once said we generally know how we should act, but it’s not so easy to have the courage of our convictions.
In other words, knowing what we should do, and actually doing it, are two different things.
If we saw someone facing imminent threat of harm, would we have the courage and confidence to act? Would we be prepared to put ourselves in harm’s way?
Nelson Mandela said that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man or women is not someone who does not feel afraid, but someone who conquers that fear.
The brave people we are honouring today conquered that fear and did not hesitate.
They saw people in distress – they stepped up and took responsibility in that moment – and they responded appropriately and effectively.
Their quick thinking, resolve and initiative saved lives.
The Royal Humane Society exists to acknowledge the selfless courage and extraordinary actions of such people.
It is a privilege to present silver medals to six people so deserving of this recognition.
The word ‘hero’ is perhaps too often and lightly used, but in your case, it is entirely appropriate.
Through your interventions, tragic outcomes were averted, and the people you helped were able to continue with their lives.
Please accept these honours as an expression of high esteem and grateful thanks from your fellow New Zealanders.
You join a select group of people who have received this honour. Your stories, like theirs, illustrate universal values: compassion, humanity, and courage.
Please wear your medals with pride, knowing that your actions inspire others to follow your example.
I now invite Austin Forbes, President of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand to speak.