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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.


It’s my great pleasure to welcome you, General Hurley and Linda, to Government House Auckland. I also wish to specifically acknowledge:

  • Ministers of the Crown, The Honourable Paul Goldsmith and The Honourable Judith Collins 
  • Her Excellency Harinder Sidhu, High Commissioner of Australia in New Zealand
  • Members of Parliament
  • His Worship Wayne Brown, Mayor of Auckland
  • Willie Apiata, VC
  • Veterans, service personnel and their families
  • Government House Kaumātua, Joe Harawira, and Kuia, Pauline Hopa
  • Distinguished guests.


Richard and I have been delighted to host Your Excellencies over these past two days of your State Visit. Having spent time with you both on several occasions in the United Kingdom, we have greatly enjoyed this opportunity to renew our acquaintance.


This is the first State Visit I’ve had the pleasure of hosting during my term as Governor-General, following such a long pause through the Covid-19 pandemic. I know that my predecessor, Dame Patsy Reddy, visited Your Excellencies in Australia just before the end of her term, and I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality.


I do hope you have enjoyed your programme of events and engagements here in Aotearoa, and that this proves to be a highlight of your final few weeks in office. You may be aware that we here in New Zealand are particularly attached to our native birds – and an absolute highlight for any New Zealander would be to help release a kiwi back into safe habitat. I’m so thrilled that we were able to share that experience with you earlier today.


I spoke at yesterday’s State Dinner about the close and unique relationship that exists between our two countries. In te ao Māori, we have a whakataukī, or a proverb, which says: ‘He hono tangata e kore e motu; kāpā he taura waka e motu. Unlike a canoe rope, a human bond cannot be severed.’  


I do believe it is those human bonds between Australia and New Zealand that make our relationship so special. I of course have my own personal connection, given a 30-year marriage to an Australian, and with our youngest child Dylan, born in Adelaide during the 1980s.


I am heartened to think that Australia and New Zealand will face the shared challenges of our future together. Many of you gathered here today represent the strength of those trans-Tasman connections – whether through business, sport, defence, or creative endeavours – and I thank you for all that you do in the spirit of the relationship between our two countries.


General Hurley, I know in the coming weeks, we will see many tributes paid to you, in recognition of your service to Australia over these past five years of your term as Governor-General. Having served as New Zealand Governor-General now for nearly two-and-a-half years, I can say with some confidence that I appreciate the work, responsibilities, and sacrifices that come with the role. I am sure you could not have done it without the loving support of Linda by your side.


Along with those sacrifices, I understand the great privileges and joys that come with the position too: of meeting extraordinary people, such as those gathered here this evening, doing remarkable things in the service of their fellow citizens; of doing what you can as Governor-General to shine a light on those causes and organisations doing such good in our communities; and of helping to strengthen the bonds of connection and friendship with our overseas partners.


If I may, I wish to quote your own address from your swearing-in ceremony in 2019: ‘Through speeches, supportive visits, and events of encouragement and recognition, the Governor-General can highlight to all Australians their inherent strengths, their concern for the common good, their humanity and decency, and their desire for a “fair go”.’


Delivering those words must feel like a lifetime ago – but hearing them again, I sincerely hope you also feel a deep sense of pride for all that you’ve achieved over these past five years. I wish to take this opportunity, on behalf of all New Zealanders, to thank for your service to Australia – and, by extension, all that you’ve done in the service of the relationship between our two countries. 


Richard and I wish you and Linda all the very best for these coming weeks, and hope that you enjoy this next chapter in your lives together.


Finally, my thanks once again to all our invited guests, for being here for this very special occasion. I look forward to meeting many of you over the course of this evening, and I encourage you to please enjoy the hospitality of this beautiful house.


Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.