Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Nau mai, haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kawana o Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House Wellington.
It’s a great honour to stand before you this evening as Governor-General of Aotearoa New Zealand.
I wish to thank Michael and his team in the Cabinet Office, who supported my taking on this role and my swearing-in this afternoon. It’s reassuring to know that our constitutional arrangements are in such safe hands.
To Alice and her staff at Government House – thank you for helping Richard, Pebbles, Lucy, and I feel so welcome in our new home for these next five years.
I also want to take this moment to acknowledge Dame Patsy and Sir David, who gave so much of themselves to carrying out the duties of Governor-General.
I believe this is a role that transcends any one person. Each new Governor-General has a duty to protect this office, to use it for the greatest possible good for our country, and to leave it in a better place for whoever comes next. Dame Patsy did all those things, and I will strive to do the same.
Today has been a day of many emotions. I feel great pride: to take on this role in the service of all New Zealanders, and to join a line of extraordinary men and women who have held this office – each playing their unique part in the rich and diverse history of our country.
I feel honoured: to represent our Head of State, Her Majesty the Queen, who has, for nearly 70 years, been a beacon of wisdom and stability and integrity: qualities I will strive to embody as your Governor-General.
I feel warmth and joy: to be surrounded by so many of my closest friends and family. I wouldn’t be standing here this evening without all of your strength and support over so many years.
Along with that, of course, I feel an abiding sadness: that I couldn’t share this special moment with those of our whānau locked down in Auckland and Northland.
Finally, I feel grateful: to know that I’ll have Richard by my side through all that the next five years will bring.
Throughout my career, I’ve always been motivated by the pursuit of knowledge, and the use of that knowledge for our collective wellbeing.
These priorities won’t change during my time as Governor-General – though my methods might. I’ll aim to shine a light on those extraordinary New Zealanders who make our country wiser, and use that wisdom to strengthen our diverse communities and protect our natural environment.
I take on this role at a profoundly challenging time for New Zealanders. We’re facing a pandemic, climate change, and issues that continue to threaten our social fabric.
But I am ready for the challenge, and determined to be a Governor-General who is always there for my country: to celebrate in good times, and to provide comfort when times are tough.
I vow to stay true to myself and the values that have brought me to this role: values of manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga, and integrity. Holding fast to these values, I’m confident I can be a Governor-General for this moment in our history, and for all New Zealanders.
I quoted Hone Tuwhare in my swearing-in speech earlier today, and I return to him again, to say to you, my friends, family, and colleagues, I am only here: 'because you | are so good: | so very good to me.'
I wish you all a wonderful evening, thank you again for being here, and hope you enjoy the hospitality of this extraordinary house.