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Source: New Zealand Governor General

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


I extend warm greetings – to all the rose growers who have entered this year’s competition – and to everyone who has played a part in bringing the National Rose Show together, including

Hayden Foulds, President of the New Zealand Rose Society
Graham Waters, President of the Auckland Rose Society; and
Jannene Alexander, Convenor of the 2022 National Rose Show and Convention.

Thank you very much for inviting my husband Richard and me to join you in celebrating this astonishing array of floral perfection.

We all know how important it is to find time to smell the roses – so, many thanks for making that part of my schedule today.

Richard and I both share your deep appreciation of roses.

Unfortunately I have to say that the rabbits and possums at our property are equally fond of them.

So much as I would like to take this opportunity to jot down the names of some new replacements for the bushes they have eaten, I fear our rose-growing is a lost cause.

Which is a pity as we are fortunate in Aotearoa to have such wonderful growing conditions for the world’s favourite flower.

However, I am well aware that there are no roses without thorns and it takes real dedication to get beautiful blooms, and to keep up with the watering and pruning, deadheading, and feeding the soil – let alone keeping an eagle eye out for pesky aphids, possums and rabbits, as well as black spot and powdery mildew.

Wherever you go in this country, from Kaitaia to Riverton, the local branch of the Rose Society is the place to go for advice on such matters.

When I grew up in Northland, old rambling roses were a familiar sight in cemeteries and on the side of the road.

Some of them would have been grown from cuttings tucked into raw potatoes and carefully transported here by immigrants in the early 19th century.

Those roses were treasured mementos of a life they had left far behind.

Now we see them as curious traces of generations who are no longer with us.

Victorians were familiar with the language of roses in ways that may seem quaint today, but still so often it’s the case that we attach special reasons and sentiments to our decisions to grow a particular rose.

Perhaps it was the favourite of a much-loved family member, or emits a particularly sweet or intoxicating perfume. Perhaps it reminds us of a particular time or place in our lives, or was bred to commemorate a special event or the life of someone we admire.

And we do tend to give deep and careful thought to what might be the appropriate colour of roses for a bouquet – whether we want to convey aroha, manaakitanga, sorrow, romance, joy, or celebration.

So, it will be fascinating to see just how roses have been used to evoke times past in your Deco theme of “All that Jazz”.

Congratulations to everyone exhibiting today, and especially to all of the winners of awards.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour and passion – and, of course, to smelling the roses.