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 is a great pleasure for David and me to welcome you to Government House today. This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of hosting these awards and I’m delighted to be able to help the Wellington Down Syndrome Association recognise the achievements of a talented and dedicated group of New Zealanders.
The biographies of Fletch Gallagher, Brendon Porthouse and Stephen Williams, this year’s Frances Clark Award recipients, contain some very important stories. They tell us of the joy of mastering new skills, of the strength required to meet challenges and the dedication needed to attain their goals.
Fletch, Brendon and Stephen have made a real contribution in their respective communities and in doing so, have acted as role models for other people with disabilities.
Their successes are great examples of what can be achieved by people with Down Syndrome. The rich lives led by Fletch, Brendon and Stephen, with their focus on participation and involvement, are testament to their commitment and enthusiasm.
No-one achieves alone and our recipients have been fortunate to have friends, families, caregivers, teachers and others standing with them, cheering them on.
Sue Elsworth, the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to our Community Award is one of those people. She has given her time and energy to make sure people with Down Syndrome have access to life enhancing therapy and has also worked to provide support for other parents of Down Syndrome in Wellington.
That care, concern for others and determination to get things done, deserves our recognition. Sue - you have made a real difference in the community.
Today’s awards are an opportunity to celebrate the many and diverse achievements of people with Down Syndrome. It’s also an opportunity to remember Frances Clark, a very special girl who touched the hearts of many during her short life. These awards are a reminder of her and her spirit and I’d like to acknowledge her father, Forde Clarke, who is here today.
Congratulations once again to all today’s recipients. Your special talents and abilities have been recognised by others and you can feel proud of what you’ve achieved.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa