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Speech

2010 Rhodes Scholarship Reception

Issue date: 
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Speaker: 
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO

I begin by greeting everyone in the languages of the realm of New Zealand, in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Niuean, Tokelauan and New Zealand Sign Language.

Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni and as it is the evening  (Sign)

I specifically greet you: Members of the Rhodes Scholarship selection panel Professor Sir David Skegg, Professor Dame Ann Salmond, Dr Jenni Adams, Dr Merata Kawharu, Chris Curran, Paul Tipping; and scholarship candidates, Richard Higgins, Hautahi Kingi, Honor Lanham, Ryan Manton, Iona Mylek and Kate Stone; staff from, what is now, Universities New Zealand, notably Jon Winnall; Distinguished Guests otherwise; Ladies and Gentlemen. 

It is with great pleasure that my wife Susan and I welcome you to Government House in Auckland for this reception prior to tomorrow’s interviews to choose the recipients of the 2011 Rhodes Scholarships.
Tomorrow’s meeting of the selection panel will be the last that I will host as my term as Governor-General ends in August next year.

I count it as one of the privileges of the role to participate in this process and to meet such a wide range of such talented young New Zealanders.  

There is a common public perception that sees young people as a “problem” that requires a “solution.” 
Maybe it is inherent in the Governor-General role that we see New Zealand and New Zealanders at their best.  However, the interactions Susan and I have had with the many hundreds of young New Zealanders we have met in the last four years has made it clear to us that far from being a problem, they are our nation’s greatest asset.

And one of the greatest assets to New Zealand are its Rhodes Scholars.   When I have spoken at this reception in the past, I have often talked of the many New Zealand Rhodes Scholars who have gone on to great achievements, of which there are many.  They include politicians, doctors, judges, diplomats, academics, leading business people and one governor-general.  

But many, like those in this room, do not wait for a Rhodes Scholarship to be achievers.  One example is Rosara Joseph who was awarded her scholarship in 2005 and began studying at Oxford for a Bachelor of Civil Law degree the following year.  I understand that she has since returned to Oxford study towards a DPhil.

In the same year Rosara took up her Rhodes Scholarship, she won a silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in cycling in the mountain bike women’s cross country.  She also represented New Zealand in the same sport in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The scholarships that a few of you will receive at the completion of tomorrow’s interviews are the pinnacle of academic achievement. 

To receive a Rhodes Scholarship provides both honour and an obligation. 

Honour because you will join an elite of slightly more than 200 New Zealanders who have been named as Rhodes Scholars.  Studying at Oxford University, one of the world’s foremost research and learning institutions, you will be mentored by some of the top academics in your respective disciplines.

Obligation because with the award of the scholarship comes a responsibility to serve the community which has also invested in your education.  With the receipt of a Rhodes Scholarship, a mantle passes to each of you to not only better yourselves, but also work for the community on your return.
This reception naturally has an air of both excitement and nervousness as the selection meeting awaits tomorrow.

Having been involved four times before, I can tell you it is never an easy decision.  You are all worthy candidates but unfortunately we cannot give scholarships to you all.  To have reached the point of being interviewed, given the competition for these scholarships is in itself a great honour.

So I wish you all the best for the interviews tomorrow.  May you all be a credit to New Zealand.
And on that note, I will close in our country’s first language by offering everyone greetings and wishing you all good health and fortitude in your endeavours. 

No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora, kia kaha, tēnā koutou katoa.

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 16 November 2010

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