E ngā mana e pae nei i tēnei po,
tae mai hoki ki te hunga rangatahi,
tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
Welcome to all authorities and the youth gathered here tonight.
Nau mai haere mai ki kōnei, ki tenei Whare Kawana.
And welcome to Government House.
Tēnā tatau i ngā tini putanga kētanga o tēnei ao matemate.
We acknowledge the many circumstances of this changing world that unite us here tonight.
Kaati, nau mai, haere mai. Ka pu te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi. And so welcome. The new net goes fishing as the old one is set aside.
I am delighted that the WakaNZ voyage has found landfall at Government House tonight.
I am looking forward to hearing the aspirations of the generation that will have their hands on the tiller in the future.
Thank you to the 36 rangatahi who have taken time out of their busy lives to take part in WakaNZ and to contribute to Government’s planning for the future.
I hope that you have found it personally empowering and useful for charting your own way forward.
When I was first approached about hosting this event, I didn’t need to think twice.
In fact, if my schedule hadn’t already been full, I would have loved to sit in on a workshop session.
There are two main reasons for my interest. First, I am conscious of the longstanding relationship between Governors-General and Māori, dating back to the signing of Te Tiriti.
It’s a relationship that is very important to me, and is one of the reasons why I have set – as one of my goals during my term – increasing my understanding and use of te reo.
I want also to do what I can to increase public understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our constitutional arrangements – both in an historical context, and as they apply today. [You may like to talk about the goals of this year’s Waitangi Day address, as your contribution towards increasing understanding of the historical basis for Māori grievances.]
The topic of Te Tiriti frequently arises in my interactions with representatives of other countries; when I travel overseas to represent New Zealand; or have discussions with members of the Diplomatic Corps here or with visiting Heads of State.
To them, Aotearoa/New Zealand is considered to be fortunate to have Te Tiriti as a basis for ongoing relations between Māori and the Crown.
Another reason I want to support today’s event is because I was a Chief Crown Negotiator for the Tauranga Moana and Te Toko Toru Treaty claims.
As a result of that experience, I have some small insight into the huge demands on generations of Treaty claimants, and the time and energy that went into the Treaty negotiation process.
I am well aware that the work does not stop with settlement.
A new and evolving set of challenges, choices and opportunities demand a range of skill sets and processes if rangatahi and tamariki are to thrive and reach their potential in the future.
The complexity of the task is reflected in the breadth of your agenda, which recognises that the future rests on a foundation of history and constitutional arrangements, relationships between the environment and economic activity, care of tamariki and rangatahi, and the status of te reo and cultural vitality.
This context will inform how Māori business, innovation and enterprise will develop, and as it takes on an increasingly important role in the economy, there is an opportunity to promote the values of sustainability and care for the environment more widely.
As we take on these responsibilities, we honour the efforts of our tipuna.
I am looking forward to hearing the presentations and what your dreams are for an Aotearoa/New Zealand where people potential is maximised, our environment is healed, and sustainable development is promoted to the wider world.
Kia kaha, kia manawanui, kia ora huihui tātou katoa