May I begin by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pay respect to their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. Tena koutou katoa.
May I also acknowledge you Lord Mayor, Martin Haese. You have been an incredibly generous host and it is greatly approeciated. I hope we in Christchurch can reciprocate at some time in the near future.
It is an honour and a privilege to visit Adelaide for the first time as the Mayor of your New Zealand sister city, Christchurch. 45 years is a special anniversary and much has happened since 1972. That was pre the internet, mobile phones, social media, and trolls were only the stuff of fairytales.
Adelaide is Christchurch's closest Sister City (both geographically and in terms of the length of the relationship).
This of course is not my first trip to Adelaide. I have been here a couple of times before. Once as a very young trade union official and then as a Cabinet Minister when I served under the leadership of the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark.
I was struck the first time I came by the similarity of our cities' layout. I fell for the myth that they were designed by the same planner, but of course that's not the case, but there is a connection in terms of the style. And it does feel like home. The grid pattern with its parks and botanic gardens earning us both the status as a Garden City.
But as I have been saying recently, what a Garden City means in the 21st century is quite different from what it meant when I was growing up. And you seemed to have created a similar vision for Adelaide around sustainability, food resilience, environmental protection and of course the smart city that we aspire to be as well, taking advantage of all that the new technologies have to offer and enabling smart citizens so they can participate directly in the governance of their city.
Another similarity is the recognition of the importance of the arts in the life and vitality of a liveable city. Your annual Adelaide Festival of the Arts is a match with the Christchurch Festival of Arts, which is just wrapping up now. In a post disaster environment, it is so important to foster creativity and innovation, and the arts enable us to do so in a way that we can reimagine our lives even when the going gets tough.
I am accompanied by University of Canterbury staff and today we visited the University of Adelaide to thank them for their support of Canterbury students after the earthquake. It had a profound effect on their lives and they have gone on to completed their degrees, never forgetting what was done. We will never forget as a city the support we received from Adelaide.
I also want to mention the biennial Christchurch Word Festival celebrating readers and writers. One of our key sister city projects initiated last year was to bring indigenous writers from two of our Sister Cities - Adelaide and Seattle - to connect with our own indigenous writers. I attended what was an incredibly powerful and moving presentation and discussion and had the honour of meeting Ali Cobby-Eckerman, who is not here tonight because she is overseas after receiving the Windham-Campbell prize for literary achievement.
I should also mention Christchurch's International Airport, which has gone from strength to strength over the years, developing relationships with international airports and airlines to ensure direct long haul flights into the heart of the South Island. I must say I would have liked a direct flight from Christchurch to Adelaide yesterday. So that's something that's on my wish list.
I have been struck by the Lord Mayor's vision for Adelaide to be a smart, innovative city and being a ‘city where good things happen first’. Our vision is that Christchurch is a city of opportunity for all - a place that is open to new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things - a place where anything is possible.
It is true that this is driven off the back of our desire not to let a serious crisis go to waste to paraphrase a former White House Chief of Staff, who said it was an opportunity to do things we didn't think we could do before. But I really feel that sense of possibility here too and something else we have in common. I also see this as the basis for a strong collaboration between our two smart city programmes and their connections to local universities and start ups. Combining our efforts could accelerate our mutual progress.
In conclusion, I want to make a presentation to the City of Adelaide in honour of our 45th anniversary. It is a framed korowai, a Maori cloak. A korowai is worn by a person of high standing and signifies protection and warmth, which serms so appropriate given the support we received after the earthquake. And it also signifies as honour and leadership.
Thank you again for the warmth of your welcome. These relationships are important and the city of Christchurch looks forward to the next 45 years of our Sister City relationship with the city of Adelaide.
As I said I know how much it meant that our sister cities reached out to us in our time of need and provided support of every kind. Adelaide was no exception and this will never be forgotten.