Governor General’s Address – Excellence Awards 2019

Source: New Zealand Governor General – Read Original 

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.

I particularly acknowledge Sir Graeme Dingle,

Jo-anne Wilkinson, Lady Dingle

Brian Corban, Graeme Dingle Foundation Board Chair and trustees

Sir Michael Friedlander

Sir James Wallace; and

Members of the Hillary family

Thank you for inviting David and me to share this special day with you all.

I think everyone wants New Zealand children to have the best start in life, and I think we also know that this is not the experience of too many of our children.

If communities, government, and business work together, we can turn our negative statistics around.

The Graeme Dingle Foundation is a key player in those efforts and it’s a privilege to be its Patron.

In 2019, our young people are becoming increasingly visible in movements for change, whether it’s the climate crisis or becoming involved in local government elections.

It’s been inspiring to see their motivation, commitment and organisational skills, and to know that they are determined to make a positive difference.

I like to think that programmes like those offered by the Graeme Dingle Foundation are helping to lay the groundwork for this kind of active participation by our young citizens.

With improved behaviour and academic outcomes, with the ability to set goals, with more self-confidence and resilience – our rangatahi are so much better placed to develop their potential.

So a huge thank you to the dedicated mentors, leaders and volunteers who make that transformation possible.

Having attended several of these events, I know the stories of the award winners will be truly inspiring, because they prove that determined individuals can, with the right support, overcome significant challenges and disadvantage.

It must be incredibly rewarding for everyone involved to hear about these journeys towards wellbeing and purpose, and to witness the confidence, joy and optimism of young people who have successfully completed Kiwi Can, Stars, Project K, Career Navigator and MYND.

And incredibly rewarding to know that the impact doesn’t stop there.  That families, schools, communities and workplaces will all be benefiting from the impacts of those programmes.

You are helping to make New Zealand a better place for all of us.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is the opportunity to meet New Zealanders doing wonderful things – and to thank them, on behalf of their fellow citizens.

Tonight, it’s Sir Graeme, and everyone involved as catalysts for change for thousands of young New Zealanders.

Another equally rewarding aspect of my role is the opportunity to highlight achievement.

Tonight, it’s the young graduates of Graeme Dingle Foundation programmes.

It takes courage to admit that things aren’t going the way you would like them to, to change direction, and stick to that new path.

So congratulations for staying the course, for committing to positive change in your lives. I wish you every success with the goals you have set yourselves.

In the future, when you look back on this turning point in your lives, I hope that you will consider how you too might help others on their journey.

You can be guided by this whakatauki, which sums up the kaupapa of the Graeme Dingle Foundation:

Hapaitia te ara tika pumau

ai te rangatiratanga mo nga uri whakatipu

Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations.

Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui, huihui  tātou katoa

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