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Source: New Zealand Governor General

Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.

I’d like to specifically acknowledge the Honourable Ginny Anderson, Minister of Police, and New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. And to all police representatives, your friends and families – my very warmest greetings.

It is an honour to be here for this year’s Police Remembrance Day – my first as Governor-General. Every year, on Anzac Day, New Zealanders, Australians, and communities across the Pacific come together in remembrance of those who lost their lives in times of peacekeeping and war.

It is fitting that, today, we do the same for our police – to reflect on their courage and sacrifice, and all that our policemen and women do to keep our communities safe.

Members of the New Zealand Police were present for some of the darkest moments in our country’s history: at Aramoana and Waikino; the Al-Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre.

Constable Percy Tulloch was 35 years old when he was killed during the Kōwhitirangi tragedy of 1941. Found among his belongings was a small slip of paper, on which was printed the following unattributed Policeman’s Prayer: ‘Give me unfailing courage at all times and under all conditions. Let me look into the face of death with unblinking eyes and feel no fear.’

I acknowledge the immense burden carried by policemen and women across New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific: to daily face the risk of danger, but to do so with such courage and conviction – and to bear witness to the worst in humanity, but to never lose sight of our essential goodness.

John Stuart Mill said that ‘bad people need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good people should look on and do nothing.’ On behalf of all New Zealanders, I wish to express my sincerest gratitude and admiration to you for being the ones who do not simply stand by – for being there for us when we need you most.

I also wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge your families, for your own courage and sacrifice. Our police officers could not do their job in the service of us all without your loving support.

I know that the work of police in our communities extends well beyond law enforcement. During a recent visit to West Auckland, I spent time at a wonderful local charity – Give a Kid a Blanket – where I encountered two police officers, collecting bedding and clothing for a local family they knew to be in need. It seemed to me a perfect example of the sort of quiet and often unacknowledged acts of charity and humanity central to so much of what you do.

In encounters such as that, I feel a great sense of pride in our police force, which I understand to be regarded as one of the very best and most trusted in the world. It is right that our police are held to the highest standards of integrity and conduct – and I commend you for the way you hold yourselves in our communities, led so ably and graciously by our Police Commissioner Andrew Coster.

My sincerest gratitude once again: for the bravery and goodness you show every day – and for all that you do to protect and care for our communities.

Finally, my deepest condolences to all the friends and family here today, and across New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific, honouring loved ones no longer with us.

This morning, on this special and solemn occasion, let us join together in saying: ‘Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou. We will remember them.’