E nga mana, e nga reo,
Koutou kua haere mai
i runga i te reo karanga o te ra.
He mihi maioha tenei
ki a koutou ka whakanuia
i te po nei
Tena tatou katoa
I specifically acknowledge
Hon Peeni Henare,
And Professor Wendy Larner, President of the Royal Society.
First, let me congratulate you, Peeni, following the announcement of your new Ministerial appointments.
I note your portfolios span several sectors, and no doubt the advice you will receive will be informed by the work of Royal Society Te Aparangi scholars in the months and years ahead.
I’m delighted that one of the three Royal Society Te Aparangi 2020 research honour award ceremonies could be held here at Government House.
We do well to reflect that for millions of people across the world, gatherings like this are impossible – and will be a distant prospect for some time to come.
We owe much of our current good fortune to a community of people whose expertise and commitment is helping us to respond appropriately to the COVID-19 pandemic, and thereby keep safe and well.
So it feels very apt to be a cheerleader for excellence in research tonight!
The winners of tonight’s research awards work across diverse fields. Collectively, their work affirms the spirit of the whakatauki: Whaia te matauranga hei oranga mō koutou. Seek knowledge for the sake of your wellbeing.
Your knowledge and achievements are contributing to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders – cultural, physical, spiritual, economic – and to the wellbeing of our environment.
This is your time.
It’s hard to imagine a time when reliable information and advice has been more keenly sought and appreciated by the citizens of New Zealand.
Experts across diverse disciplines have become trusted public figures.
They’ve encouraged us to take stock of our life-style choices and priorities. They’ve done their best to educate us and keep us on the straight and narrow.
They have promoted new ways of working that also have long-term benefits for ourselves and the planet. And many of us have discovered that we are ready to do things differently.
As Governor-General I participate in the selection process for Rhodes Scholars, our best and brightest young scholars, at the beginning of their research journeys.
Over the years, I have noticed a distinct shift in the research proposals submitted by candidates.
This year’s interviews took place yesterday. As always, it was a privilege to hear those wonderful young people speak about their plans and about what motivates them.
A common theme is their commitment to achieve collective good – for humanity and the natural world.
That heightened sense of community and collective responsibility is apparent also in the cross-sector work being undertaken by two of my other Patronages, the Aotearoa Circle and Koi Tū, the Centre for Informed Futures.
Fostering our collective kete of knowledge and expertise is our key to a resilient, innovative and prosperous New Zealand.
I appreciate that the Royal Society is playing its part by supporting research in the humanities and social sciences as well as scientific inquiry.
Tonight we pay tribute to the Royal Society scholars whose work has paved the way for research in the present.
Tonight’s winners take their place in that whakapapa, and in turn, will inspire the work of those who will follow in their footsteps.
Congratulations. You have done us all proud and I wish you all the very best with your current and future projects.
Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui, huihui tātou katoa