May I begin by acknowledging the leadership of the three organisations, first the President of the Pacific Association of Paediatric Surgeons, Shan Zheng; Russell Taylor, President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Paediatric Surgeons; and last, the convenor of the this 52nd combined meeting, the President of the New Zealand Society of Paediatric Surgeons, Professor Spencer Beasley.
And may I warmly welcome them and all the delegates from around the Pacific Rim to Otautahi, Christchurch.
I understand that this is the first meeting in New Zealand of the Pacific Association of the Paediatric Surgeons since 2007, so thank you for coming to Christchurch.
In my role as Mayor, I am invited to welcome people to our city on a frequent basis - today though is special. You are the first group to hold a conference here at the Christchurch Town Hall since it reopened just over two weeks ago.
I know that you booked the more intimate setting of the James Hay Theatre, but it is not quite ready yet. So than you for proceeding anyway.
For those that came early, the recital you have listened to is only the third occasion the wonderful Rieger Pipe Organ has been played in this way for eight years. So a special welcome to you all.
As you know Christchurch has been through a lot over the past few years, and although we will never forget those whose lives were lost or disrupted in so many different ways, we have learned that from disaster comes opportunity. As a city, we have been exploring both the breadth and the depth of those opportunities.
And we also also know firsthand just how much people around the world are willing to share their own experiences, so we benefit from their success and learn from their mistakes. Here in Christchurch we are absolutely committed to doing the same for others.
I saw on your website your mantra ‘sharing knowledge, improving care’.
You have come to a place where we know the value of sharing knowledge. When it comes to children and young people, both their experience of that time and the impact of a post-trauma environment on their development and wellbeing, has been front of mind when we think of improving care.
As paediatric surgeons, you have come to the right place to share knowledge so that they will benefit from improved care.
And on a personal note, the other wonderful aspect of coming here is that there is much to do and explore, and as the international gateway to the rich and diverse Canterbury region, I invite you to explore all we have to offer.
I wish you well in your deliberations, and warmly welcome you to Otautahi, Aotearoa, Christchurch, New Zealand.
No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena ra tatou katoa