E te wahine rangatira tena koe. Nau mai ki Aotearoa.
Tenei te mihi maioha i o mahi nui mo te putaiao huri noa te ao.
Ladies and gentlemen – it’s wonderful to be here. David and I are absolutely delighted to attend the launch of the Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand.
Dr Goodall has not only undertaken fifty years of ground-breaking research, delivering remarkable insights into humankind’s closest living relatives – the chimpanzees. She has also redefined species conservation to include the needs of the environment and the local people who share that environment. In addition, she has inspired generations of people to make a difference in the world.
So I am thrilled to be able to join you to celebrate the launch of the NZ branch of the world-leading conservation organisation, the Jane Goodall Institute.
David and I have a deep personal commitment to sustainability and conservation, and it is heartening to see so many of you who share those interests.
The work of the Institute emphasises that everything is connected, and that everyone can make a difference. The launch of the New Zealand branch encourages and enables New Zealanders to connect their good work to that of others around the world. They will be able to share knowledge, inspiration, experience, and achievements.
This international tapestry of active conservation work can remind us all that our personal actions are terribly important, that we are part of a great community of people who are doing their best to make the world a better place for animals, people, and the environment.
As Governor-General, I am keen to encourage our current and emerging leaders, and celebrate all the ways that our leaders are making a difference for New Zealand and for their communities.
The “Roots and Shoots” programme will be at the heart of the Jane Goodall Institute’s activities in New Zealand. This international youth leadership programme is a practical, hands-on way to empower young people to become the type of leaders who will make the right choices to build a better world.
Young people in New Zealand will, through this programme, have the opportunity and support to lead local change through sustainability action projects, while at the same time developing the skills and traits of compassionate leaders.
To all the parents, educators, supporters and mentors here – and to the young people who have already committed to be part of “Roots and Shoots” – thank you. You are shining examples of the spirit of leadership and service that can make real change for the environment, for human rights, and for animal protection.
Jane Goodall’s work is built on a truly inspiring message of hope. She sees hope in our capacity to use our intellect to solve problems and make change. She sees hope in the indomitable human spirit, in the people who never give up. She sees hope in the resilience of nature. And she sees hope in the tremendous energy, enthusiasm and commitment of young people around the world.
I see hope in all of you. Your willingness to embrace a vision of a better future, and then roll up your sleeves and start making that happen, is an encouragement to us all.
I wish you all success as you build the Jane Goodall Institute in New Zealand.
I’d like to close with Jane’s own words.
“So let’s move forward in this new millennium with hope, for without it all we can do is eat and drink the last of our resources as we watch our planet slowly die. Let’s have faith in ourselves, in our intellect, in our staunch spirit and in our young people. And let’s do the work that needs to be done, with love and compassion.”
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.