Rau rangatira e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa. Distinguished guests, warm greetings to you all.
I specifically acknowledge: Her Worship Lianne Dalziel, TEDx Christchurch speakers, and the volunteer organising team behind TEDx Christchurch; tēnā koutou katoa.
Thank you for inviting me and Janine here this evening.
First may I say it’s great to be the first speaker for the TEDx Christchurch programme. Even for a Governor-General, it’s a little daunting to be speaking in front of TEDx presenters who are renowned for life-changing ideas and unforgettable, entertaining presentations. It’ll be less of a let-down for me if by the end of tomorrow’s sessions you don’t remember my comments!
I do want to say how delighted I am to support TEDx Christchurch. Good ideas need audiences if they are to take root. And, TEDx delivers audiences because they know they will be entertained, educated and maybe provoked into seeing the world and their role in it in a different light.
It seems to me that the TEDx phenomenon came along at just the right time for Christchurch. Rebuilding is about so much more than mere restoration. A creative, holistic and future-focussed approach is what is needed in this time of renewal.
The TEDx Christchurch programme-theme, Explore, Dream, Discover has a winning-hint mix of arts and humanities and science and technology. The emphasis on science this year is for me an interesting feature.
Science and technology, in many ways hold huge potential for New Zealand’s future. In 2016 science and innovation will be the main theme for my work as Governor-General. A few weeks ago I hosted the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka Awards. The Awards promote excellence in the next generation of science communicators. I’d like to think that some of those gifted young people may also end up being TEDx presenters one day.
In my current role, I am privileged to meet extraordinary, talented and enthusiastic people who are finding new ways to tackle issues and provide added value. When they talk about their work, they do so with passion and conviction. In turn, I am inspired to talk about their work and achievements when the occasion arises – both here in New Zealand and when I travel overseas. So I can absolutely vouch for the power of good communication to promote and advance the cause of new thinking and innovation.
We all want to leave a better world for our children. It’s about our guardianship role – kaitiakitanga. We want to preserve for them the benefits of an environment where they can dream, explore and discover. We want them to be well prepared to deal with the challenges of the future.
Being prepared for future challenges suggests life-long learning, which is captured in the whakatauki: “Mai i te kōpae ki te urupa, tatou ako tonu ai – from the cradle to the grave we are forever learning”.
In many ways, that concept seems to be applied to we elderly folk. Indeed, looking at the programme this year, I can see quite a few sessions which would provide great learning opportunities for me.
Also though, I think it’s great that TEDx Christchurch has accepted that learnings can be imparted by a teenager. Hannah Hudson’s subject of Future Problem Solving is one in which I’m informed she has excelled, and an area she undoubtedly has a major stake in!
In conclusion, I wish the TEDx organisers, presenters and audiences all the best for tomorrow – full houses of attentive and appreciative audiences that have been thoroughly entertained and educated.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.