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Source: New Zealand Governor General

E nga kaihautu o te Manatū a-Hapori, te Manatū whakamana i nga ‘taumai’

Haere mai ra!

Tomo mai ra, i te Whare Kawana o Te Whanganui a tara

Haere mai ra tatou, ki te whakanui, i te huri tau, o te Manatū

He taumata nui, he taumata tino whakamiharo, te rima tekau tau

Na te kaha o te mahi, me te pono ki te kaupapa, he maha nga take kua tatū, i roto i nga tau.

No reira, nau mai haere mai

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou, huri noa i te whare.

The leaders of the Downtown Community Ministry, the Ministry empowering (the)‘taumai’

Welcome to Government House in Wellington

Let us all come together to celebrate the birthday of the Ministry.

50 years is an important and very special milestone

It is through hard work and belief in the cause that much has been achieved through the years

Greetings to you, greetings to us all, right around the house.

Last week we lost a great champion of the most vulnerable people of Whanganui-a-Tara.

Some of us are of an age to remember Sir Des Britten for his time as a TV chef and restaurateur.

For Sir Des, his career highlight was his later role as Wellington City Missioner. He once talked about what motivated him to do such work.

He said “We’ve just got to keep focussed and think of others, because if we don’t, it’s going to be a very sad world in which we live”.

So David and I are delighted to have this opportunity to acknowledge the people who are doing just that at DCM, and the people who have supported your work over the last 50 years.

I was interested to learn that DCM is located on a site once occupied by Te Ati Awa.

One of my predecessors, Sir Paul Reeves, was descended from those people who lived in Aro Pā, and he talked about the pain experienced by his tipuna when they lost their homes there in the early days of settlement in Wellington.

So I think Sir Paul would be pleased that an organisation dedicated to finding homes for the homeless is now in that very locality, particularly given that a large proportion of DCM’s taumai are Māori.

We all know that shelter is a basic human right, and that individuals can’t address other issues or explore their aspirations if they don’t have a roof over their heads.

It must be particularly challenging for DCM and its partners to be working at a time when there just aren’t enough houses for Wellington’s population, let alone the range of accommodation options to suit the needs of the people who walk in DCM’s door.

Following the new government initiatives announced last week, I do hope that you can make significant progress with your Housing First initiative.

Tonight is an opportunity to acknowledge everyone whose manaakitanga has helped DCM fulfil that mission – from doctors, physiotherapists and dentists, to representatives of the faith communities which have been long term supporters, to donors, partners and volunteers – and most of all, the kaimahi who work with people who are homeless – to secure sustainable housing for them and to improve their general wellbeing. 

The dividends of your collaborative approach are expressed in this whakatauki:

Ehara takutoa i te toa takitahi, engari, he toa takitini.

My strength is not the strength of one: it is the strength of many.

Thank you for your dedication to your mission, and for the manaakitanga you extend to your fellow citizens. Like you, I look forward to the time when the conditions that lead to homelessness have receded into memory.

Until that happy time, I wish DCM all the very best, with the continuing support of your friends, volunteers and sponsors who are here tonight.

Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.