E ngā iwi o tēnei marae, o Te Awhina, aku mihi nui, ki a koutou, mō te powhiri.
Ki a mātou.
Tēnā koutou katoa.
Thank you for hosting us today. It is a privilege to be here and we are appreciative of the warm welcome you have given us.
In October last year, I spoke at the Whakatu marae in Nelson, immediately following my swearing in as Governor General. I said then that I was looking forward to developing a relationship with all the iwi of this region over the next five years. Today is an opportunity to add another strand to the basket I began weaving that day. I’m pleased I have been able to return to your region within a few months.
I also spoke of my intention to respect and honour the place of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as our founding document, and my intention to live up to the expectations New Zealanders have of their Governor-General. Those expectations include that the Governor-General should be knowledgeable about all parts of New Zealand, not just the cities that have a Government House. Visits like this are a vital way for me to see first- hand what is happening in our regions and meet the people who play a role in ensuring our communities thrive. There is much to be celebrated about this region and I look forward to telling others about what I have seen and done here as I travel within New Zealand and overseas.
One of the things I wish to focus on during my term is leadership. Marae like Te Awhina have a very important role to play in our communities. Your leadership in the area of health and wellbeing embodies the meaning of your name –one who helps or supports. Initiatives like discouraging the consumption of soft drinks demonstrate aroha for the next generation and show others the way forward.
Thank you once again for your warm welcome. I look forward to talking with you and cementing our relationship further.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.