tenei te mihi ki a koutou i runga i te kaupapa o te ra
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena ra tatou katoa
In welcoming members of the New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors and the Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors to Christchurch, New Zealand, may I particularly acknowledge:
Jeremy Shearer, the President of the NZ Institute of Quantity Surveyors; Ian Duncan, the President of the Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors and Phillippa Goodman-Jones the Convenor of this Congress
Thank you for choosing Christchurch as the host city for this year's Congress of the Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors.
After a sequence of large earthquakes during 2010 and 2011 which had devastating effects on both the community and the city itself, Christchurch is re-emerging as a vibrant and ever-changing city. The earthquakes have provided an unprecedented opportunity to rethink, revitalise and renew the city of Christchurch. With the city in the midst of being reimagined, it makes it a particularly relevant and timely host destination for PAQS 2016.
The theme for the Congress is "Building for the Future – A Global Dilemma." We hope to explore the new and innovative building construction structures and techniques that are being used not only in Christchurch, but world-wide, as the increase in devastating world weather events causes the construction community (architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and environmentalists) to rethink the way buildings are constructed and the need to reduce the cost escalations and construction time frames.
This makes your Congress very relevant to the issues facing our city right now, but it is also relevant to the lessons we need to learn from our experience here in Christchurch so we are better prepared as a nation in the future.
Here in Christchurch we are certainly Building for the Future. But what of the Global Dilemma? How do we prepare for an uncertain future?
It seems to me that there is no single source of truth when it comes to tackling what is our planet’s greatest challenges.
It is only through collaboration that we can begin to unravel the complexity they present.
All of the professions need to work together and engage with the wider community in order to develop an understanding of risk and how we can mitigate against any of the potential consequences. When we live through a disaster such as the one we experienced we can add to the body of knowledge – that’s how international best practice is built up over time.
I knew almost nothing about post disaster environments before the 4th September 2010 – I’d never even heard of liquefaction or lateral spread – I vaguely knew what a QS did, but I probably would have struggled to provide an accurate definition.
In less than three years, I had learned enough to be invited to join the UNISDR’s Parliamentarian’s Advisory Group on Disaster Risk Reduction. I had been on what I call my journey of discovery – I understood that disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sustainable development were all the same and wrapped up in a need to build resilience – in our infrastructure, but also our economies, our communities and our environment.
And today I welcome you here knowing the significance of the role QSs have played here and the role you can play in future-proofing our city against adversity and building resilience.
I attended a conference a couple of years ago where I heard the Mayor of Greensburg speak – Greensburg had been devastated by a tornado. He said ‘I’m no greenie, but if you’re going to build back, why wouldn’t you build back green”. All of the civic buildings were platinum green. And he said this – ‘but never forget that the greenest building is one that’s already standing’.
This is about ensuring sustainability while building resilience.
Our experience here in Christchurch was that the high extent of insurance cover meant that many repairable buildings were demolished as ‘uneconomic to repair’. The role of the QS was very challenging in this environment.
But how experience has meant the nature of insurance that is on offer today has significantly changed and that has brought to the fore the importance of the QS again.
So there are many issues where your profession is helping us to prepare and plan for what cannot be easily predicted.
As your website said, you are in Christchurch at a very important time in our city's journey.
Right now is an intersting time - a turning point - because we are refocussing our perspective and shifting from central government control to local leadership.
No longer does Christchurch need to be viewed through a lens of disaster and demolition - now the lens is one of regeneration and the world of opportunity that presents.
I often use this quote: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before". It was a statement made by Rahm Emmanuel, now the Mayor of Chicago.
It’s the opportunity to do things you think you could not do before that is the essence of the message.
We need to capture this opportunity which inevitably springs from disaster.
We are open to new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things. There is a real sense in the city that anything is possibility. And that is the world of opportunity that was picked up by Lonely Planet and New York Times – there is a real buzz of innovation and creativity.
And your profession is part of that.
How do you ensure our crisis doesn’t go to waste?
I heard a person speak recently quoting the saying
When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
Just because John F. Kennedy said it first and it's been repeated many times, it doesn't mean it's true. And it’s not. But what is true is even better.
Weiji is the word for crisis - wei is danger and ji is that incipient moment, which is the crisis point – danger is imminent.
Jihui is the word for opportunity. And there is that character ji again - that incipient moment, which in this case brims with opportunity.
So a crisis can produce danger or it can produce opportunity and it is that magic moment of time that we are experiencing here in Christchurch right now. And you are part of it.
Welcome again to Christchurch. I hope your discussions are productive and that you leave here invigorated and proud of the role your profession plays in building for the future and resolving the global dilemma.
Noreira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa