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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 katoa.


A warm welcome to you all, and I specifically acknowledge 

  • Michelle Blau, General Manager of Fair Food, and
  • Aroha Hudson, Chief Executive of HealthWest

In my message to UN Women Aotearoa to mark International Women’s Day this year, I made particular mention of their assistance to women in crisis around the world.

Today, I am very pleased to mark International Women’s Day with wāhine of Tāmaki Makaurau, and to acknowledge the help you give to people living in crisis situations in this region.

Kindness can sometimes seem like an under-rated virtue, but this whakatauki would suggest otherwise:

He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata – goodwill towards others is a precious treasure.

However, we know kind regard is not enough. What matters are kind deeds. 

I am not surprised Fair Food has its origins in West Auckland. Having grown up there – with some of you who are here today – I remember people who worked tirelessly to make things better for other people in their community. 

When they saw a societal need, they didn’t sit back and wait until things got better. They got stuck in and did something about it.

Food rescue groups around Aotearoa were started in the same way, by people who couldn’t sit by and do nothing about food insecurity. 

What makes your kaupapa so special is that in addition to extending manaakitanga to people who can’t feed themselves and their families, you have also diverted so much food from landfills.

It’s a kaupapa that absolutely aligns with my own strategic goals while I am Governor-General: to do what I can to promote the wellbeing of my fellow citizens and the environment; to celebrate our diversity and our common humanity; and to promote the pursuit of expert knowledge, so that our decision-making is informed and effective.

I know from my visit to Fair Food last year what a complex logistical operation it is. It cannot function without food donors, funders, supporters, volunteers and staff members, or the partner organisations that distribute the food in the community. You all play a vital part in supporting Fair Food’s operations.

It must be very satisfying to know that the many tons of food you have rescued over the years have nourished so many thousands of people across Tamaki Makaurau. 

I understand there are plans to make sure mothers have a special meal on Mothers’ Day, particularly those who may often go without in order to feed their children. I am sure it’s a gesture that will be very much appreciated. 

This afternoon, I hope you can step aside from your routine responsibilities and enjoy connecting with other wāhine who have become part of the Fair Food story. 

On International Women’s Day, when we take time to celebrate the strength, contributions and achievements of women in our communities, I thank you again for your aroha, your commitment, and the positive impact of your work on the lives of your fellow New Zealanders – and on the environment that sustains us all. 

I realise you may be much more comfortable extending manaakitanga than being on the receiving end – but today is your day. 

Please enjoy the hospitality of Government House, and I look forward to meeting you all shortly.