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Waitangi Day at Onuku Marae

Issue date: 
Wednesday, 6 February 2019
The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, CVO, QSO

Onuku Marae

6 February 2019

Kei aku rangatira o Ngai Tahu, tena koutou.

Nāu rā te karanga, kia haramai ahau, i tēnei rā o Waitangi.

Nāu anō te tino mōhio, ki te manaaki tangata

Nā reira aku mihi nui.  Tena koutou katoa.

Thank you for inviting me to join your Waitangi Day commemorations at this historic marae.

It’s a privilege to spend part of our national day in this beautiful bay in Te Waipounamu, so thank you for making it possible.

In my role as Governor-General, and because of my previous experience as a chief crown negotiator in treaty settlement negotiations, I am very interested in discussions about our constitutional arrangements and the evolution of our Treaty relationship.

When Captain Bunbury was dispatched by Lieutenant-Governor Hobson and presented a copy of Te Tiriti here on the 28th of May in 1840, your tipuna must have deliberated about what Te Tiriti might actually mean for them.

I imagine that recent history was in their minds, such as the role played by Captain Stewart in enabling the massacre at Takapuneke. The protection of the Rule of law and an opportunity to regulate pakeha activity could well have been a motivation for Iwikau [of Ngati Rangiamoa] and Hone Tikao [of Ngāi Tūāhuriri] to add their signatures.

As the iwi with the most extensive territory in Aotearoa, and with already established profitable economic relationships with pakeha, Ngai Tahu had the most to lose – and Te Tiriti appeared to provide protection of your rights and control of your lands, rivers and lakes.

Subsequent events and treaty breaches dashed those hopes, and the hopes of generations of Ngai Tahu.

I salute the strength and resilience of your tipuna who kept up the fight over many years to obtain redress from the Crown.

I imagine that it was a truly momentous occasion when the then Prime Minister, the Rt Honorable Jenny Shipley, delivered the Crown’s apology here at this marae (21 years ago) on the 29th of November, 1998.

It was the beginning of a new era for Ngai Tahu, with a new set of challenges, but also opportunities to build a sustainable future – consistent with your values – for an iwi that is widely dispersed across very different regions.

In recent years, there have been extraordinary demands on Ngai Tahu’s generosity, in particular following the earthquakes in Canterbury and Kaikoura.

In both instances, the manaaki of marae was made available to everyone, Māori and pakeha.

You walked the talk of the whakatauki:

Manaakitia te tangata, ahakoa ko wai, ahakoa no hea

{Take care of others, no matter who they are, no matter where they come from.}

I visited Takahanga Marae a few weeks after the Kaikoura earthquake and heard for myself how Ngai Tahu manaakitanga had been extended to tourists as well as locals.

As part of the steering group for Canterbury’s recovery, Ngai Tahu has played an integral role in the rebuild of Otautahi, and in the process, ensured a visible presence for Ngai Tahu heritage and enterprise in the city.

On my last trip to Christchurch, I visited Tūranga, and was so impressed to see how that vision was embodied in the architecture and facilities provided in the building.

Ngai Tahu has become an influential partner with Crown agencies, local government, the private sector and communities – and I understand that there are exciting new opportunities for investment, training, housing and employment in support of Dunedin’s new hospital and waterfront developments.

Your focus on education, tourism, and business development takes a long view, with the goal of empowering communities and providing inter-generational benefits.

Given your history, I am confident that you will approach that goal with commitment, enterprise and vision, thereby making a significant contribution to our nation.

Later today, in my Bledisloe Address, I will be mentioning my visit to Te Waihora last year, and how impressed I was with the collaborative efforts between Ngai Tahu, local government, farmers, and scientists to improve the wellbeing of the lake and its catchment.

Te tiriti, our nation’s unique model of partnership, demands principled action, respectful communication and commitment to high ideals. Kaitiakitanga, the responsibility to care for our environment, rests with all of us.

Your Climate Change Strategy’s emphasis on education, lifestyle changes, sustainable business practices and mitigation will stand you in good stead in the challenging years ahead.  It is a model for us all.

Once again, thank you for allowing David and me to be part of your commemorations today. I wish we could linger for some of the other events on your programme, but as we are hosting several thousand people at Government House in Wellington this afternoon, we will have to keep to schedule.

I wish you all the very best with the rest of your day and for your plans in the years ahead.

He ao te rangi ka uhia, he huruhuru, te manu ka tau.

Tēnā tatau katoa.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 7 February 2019

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