Governor-General’s Speech – Mihi Whakatau, Te Whare Rūnanga

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Ko ‘te amorangi ki mua’

Ko ‘te hāpai ō ki muri’

Tuatahi ki te Atua,

koia te tīmatanga,

koia ano te whakamutunga

o ngā mea katoa.

Tātai whetū ki te rangi,

mau tonu, mau tonu

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Tātai tangata ki te whenua,

ngaro noa, ngaro noa.

Ka hoki mai ki te mata ora

Tatou kua hui mai nei

Tena koutou

Tena koutou

Tena tatou katoa

First, I acknowledge our creator, the beginning and end of all things

Whilst the stars that glimmer on the black hair of night remain unchanged and unchanging

The earthly world changes inevitably with the losses of precious, loved ones.

I acknowledge us, one and all, the living symmetry of those whom have passed on.

Greetings to one and all assembled.

As the 22 nd Governor-General of Aotearoa-New Zealand and first wahine Māori from Te Tai Tokerau in this role, it is a privilege to join you all today in Te Whare Runanga, where we gather to acknowledge the mana of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi.

I salute the memory of Sir Apirana Ngata and his parliamentary colleague Tau Henare, who played such an important role in the construction of this whare for the 1940 centenary of the signing of Te Tiriti.

Te Whare Runanga is a lasting testament to their vision of kotahitanga for iwi Māori, and the outstanding leadership that enabled them to bring this ambitious national project to fruition.

It embodies the whakatauki:

He whenua rangatiratanga nga rangatira he mahi.

Just as a papa noho – the decking linking two hulls of a waka hourua – provides strength and stability in the face of ocean swells and storms – Te Tiriti connects the dual signatories, giving us our place to stand together, survey the horizon and plot our course in our search for safe harbour.

In this way, Te Tiriti acknowledges and respects difference, while encouraging the spirit of kotahitanga advocated by Dame Whina Cooper when she said: “The seed I would like to plant in your heart is a vision of Aotearoa where all our people can live together and share the wisdom from each culture”.

The possibilities are here to broaden and strengthen kotahitanga across Aotearoa. The ability to realise those possibilities rests within us all – in our hearts, heads and hands.

One of my predecessors, Sir Paul Reeves recalled feeling obliged to ‘shape up and perform for the Treaty’ when he came to Waitangi, and he didn’t shy away from that challenge.

As he said, we don’t have to be the same, but we should be able to understand each other.

Here at Waitangi, we come to tautoko, connect, listen and learn, so that we too can shape up, perform and deliver – for our fellow citizens and for the mahi that lies ahead of us.

Ko te kōrero a Tā Himi: “Kua nui rawa te haere whakamua e kore e taea te hoki whakamuri”.

No reira, e āku rangatira, nga mihi nui ki a koutou.

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