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Source: New Zealand Governor General

Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi nui ki a koutou. Nau mai, haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kawana o Tamaki Makaurau.

I particularly acknowledge

    • Geoff Clews, Chair of Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust
    • Bronwyn Heath, and Lewis Grant, Trustees of Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust, and of course
    • our recipients of the Trust’s Awards this year: John, Kate and Shana

As you can imagine, recently I’ve been rather preoccupied with constitutional matters. Next week will be no different, with several engagements relating to the opening of Parliament.

Given those circumstances, I am so pleased that we’ve been able to proceed with today’s award ceremony in Auckland.

It’s a privilege to continue the vice-regal association with the Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust.

Today we must salute Sir George’s memory and acknowledge his extraordinary generosity and foresight.

The Trust he established has enabled generations of young New Zealanders to pursue their dreams. They’ve developed their potential, they’ve contributed to the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of their communities, and they’ve assisted their own families to live better lives.

It’s a journey that echoes my personal experience of tertiary education. I am always delighted when others can share those  opportunities.

Education continues to provide vital tools to help our citizens navigate their way through a rapidly changing world. It fosters diverse skills and talents, whether they be in science, technology or the arts.

Over two thousand years ago, Confucius commented on the positive role of education, especially in uncertain times. He noted how education breeds confidence, and confidence breeds hope, and hope breeds peace.

As a former student, researcher and educator, I have seen how character and attitude affect our abilities to succeed and bring about effective change. Our values and beliefs about ourselves determine how we use the gifts we are born with, and how we respond to setbacks we might experience along the way.

The life stories of today’s award recipients confirm Nelson Mandela’s observation that “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another”.

John, Kate and Shana, I am sure your determination and positive attitude are an inspiration to your fellow pupils, your teachers and your families.

I am confident you will fulfil the potential identified in you by the Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust – by not only achieving personal and professional success, but also using your confidence and positivity to assist others and achieve public good.

My sincere congratulations for what you have achieved to date, I wish you happy holidays, and I hope you enter the new year well replenished for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of you.