the Prime Minister the Honourable John Key,
my fellow councillors Midori Miyazaki Executive Director of the ISPS representatives of NZ Golf & the Clearwater Golf Club and Bob Tuohy and the team at Tuohy Associates
May I begin by thanking someone who isn't here, Dr Haruhisa Handa. I hope that Midori will pass on the City's gratitude for the continued support of ISPS Handa for this event.
I would also like to thank Bob Tuohy and the team at Tuohy Associates and New Zealand Golf for their contribution to a fantastic partnership with the City to bring this international golf tournament to Christchurch over the years. I am also very grateful that our ratepayers were able to gain such a significant discount to see the play firsthand.
Having the focus on such an asset as Clearwater, we can forget for a moment the challenges that we face on the other side of the city and in our city centre, and remind the rest of the country and the world that we are absolutely open for business.
Christchurch is very much a golfing environment – with around 25 courses within the city and within a stone's throw over the boundary into the Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts. Clearwater has been a spectacular addition for over a decade. With Sir Bob Charles behind the course design, it is always a pleasure to come out here.
Golf fits very well with the sporting traditions of our province – the home of many of the country's sporting heroes, both male and female, across the codes.
It is wonderful that Christchurch is hosts the ISPS Handa NZ Women's Open. It is the jewel in the crown of sporting events and we are committed as a city to seeing it grow in the future.
As a former Minister of Women's Affairs, I have always been a strong supporter of equal opportunities for women in every sphere of endeavour – be it women on boards, in the workforce, in the home or in the community – and women on our sports fields, grounds and greens are no exception.
It wasn't that long ago that I can recall a public debate about the level of television time devoted to women's sporting activities over that of men's.
This event not only profiles the sport of golf, but also women participating in, what is, a very tough sport at this level. And it has attracted what many will say is the best field ever assembled for any professionally run golf tournament in New Zealand (women's or men's) containing as it does some of the world's top-ranked golfers.
So it is with genuine admiration that I offer congratulations to the tournament winner Mi Hyung Lee on what has been an outstanding performance.
It is an extraordinary start to the year off the back of last year's performance that in retrospect had a number of clues to today's success.
She had her best career finish tying for 19th at the Evian Championship and her career best round of 64 at the Manulife Classic. This has clearly given her the confidence boost she needed to go into 2014.
In winning today, she has also eclipsed her best round and set a new course record for women at Clearwater.
This is a tremendous achievement.
There is no question that having Lydia Ko defending her title that she won here last year as an amateur, has proved to be a huge draw-card. The attendances have been record-breaking across the three days.
I would like to offer my congratulations to all the players in this tournament. The talent and professionalism you have shown over the past three days is a credit to you all.
I looked at the ISPS website and found a tagline that was fitting for today – 'inspire through the power of sport'. We have been inspired not only by the players, but also the setting.
In interviews after the first day's play several of you said it was nice to play on a course that lived up to its name in that Clearwater really does have nice clean water in its streams and lakes.
So, well done to the Clearwater Golf Club and Peppers Clearwater Resort for the hard work that has gone on, behind the scenes, to ensure the course and facilities were ready for this prestigious international event.
Thanks also go to the organisers, sponsors and the many volunteers who have made this tournament an outstanding success.
And again congratulations to the winner of the Women's Golf Open – you have earned your title today and we look forward to you returning to defend it next year.