E te Tumuaki, me te Poari Kaitiaki, E ngā Kaiako, ngā tauira, me ngā mātua, O tēnei kura o Hamilton West, Tēnā koutou katoa.
The Principal and Board of Trustees; the teachers, students and parents of Hamilton West School - greetings to you all. It is my great pleasure to join you all today, at this very special occasion.
Your Worship Julie Hardaker, Mayor of Hamilton; Sculpture Artist David Lloyd; members of the Calman family, ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys in a short time I will have the honour of unveiling a sculpture that tells a story of Hamilton West School’s past, its present and its future.
Hamilton West School has a long history. Founded almost 150 years ago, this School has many stories. One special story links the school with a time in our history that has given shape to the present – the Second World War.
New Zealanders made a huge national effort in that war. It was a war that helped shape our sense of what it means to be a New Zealander. And this School played its part in that effort too. The main classroom block was used as a Military Hospital for the wounded during the Second World War.
You will hear more of the history in a moment from your Principal, Mr (Mark) Penman, and also from David Lloyd, the artist responsible for the sculpture I will unveil.
Our history is an important part of who we are. As Governor-General and representative of all New Zealanders it is my privilege to celebrate our heritage, to celebrate the successes of everyone who calls New Zealand home and to celebrate what is great about our country.
The sculpture forms a tangible link bringing together the past, the present and the future. Through it we can see the faces and names of real people, who may not be here in person but are here in spirit. The names of the soldiers who signed their names on the wooden shed bring those people back to life – and I again acknowledge the family of one of the men Douglas Calman.
The present is also important in shaping who we are and where we’re going. This school is full of bright young faces, eager to learn and make a difference today and tomorrow. Just as the soldiers stood up for what was right back then, so too can the pupils of Hamilton West School. You can be an ambassador of good Kiwi values – caring, kind and supportive for others, being a good friend to all, and showing courage – the values that make New Zealanders special.
The values and lessons that you learn from your family and at this school are important for the future. Each one of you has the potential to make a real difference in your community, and to create a bright future for yourself, and for our country.
I will finish with a Māori proverb about the importance of your education. It goes like this:
Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro - nōna te ngahere.
Engari te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga - nōna te ao.
The bird that eats the Miro berry owns the forest.
But the bird that eats education owns the world.
My advice is to work hard at school, look after your family and friends, help those that need a hand, and do the very best you can at whatever you do. If you do those things, and dream big, your future will be an exciting one! You all have the potential to do great things – you could even be the Governor-General one day!
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.