It is great to celebrate Singapore's National Day here in Christchurch. I've attended many of these occasions, but to be here tonight as Mayor on the occasion of your Golden Anniversary is very special indeed.
But it's more than that – the Canterbury Spirit with which we have reconnected since the earthquakes has much in common with the Singapore Spirit – a unity of purpose and of determination.
I watched PM Lee Hsien Loong's address on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Republic of Singapore.
He described what it was like back then. People were apprehensive – could Singapore make it on its own?
He described Lee Kuan Yew breaking down at the end of the Press Conference on the day the proclamation of independence was made, unable to contain his emotions – it was, he said, a moment of anguish.
But that moment of anguish was turned into a lifetime of determination to forge a path for this small island nation.
At the end of the press conference Mr Lee made this promise to Singaporeans: we are going to be a multi-racial nation in Singapore.
"We will set an example," he had said.
"This is not a Malay nation; this is not a Chinese nation; this is not an Indian nation. Everyone will have his place, equal: language, culture, religion."
And it was on this promise that a Nation was built.
There was much Lee Hsien Loong said last night, but the phrase that resonates with me, as we look out 50 years from where we are today in Christchurch, rebuilding and now regenerating our city after the disaster of the earthquakes, was this – today Singapore celebrates how they turned vulnerabilities into strengths, as they transformed themselves from a small third world island to a first world nation, with a single-minded commitment to leave no-one behind.
The focus on educating Singaporeans, creating opportunities for talent to thrive, committing to provide the best seaport and airport in the world, and addressing the challenge of water security, are all measures of the success of the past 50 years.
I hope they're among the measures of our success over the next 50 years.
Today we celebrate the Singapore Spirit by honouring all that it represents.
We have much in common and we are connected in many ways.
Singapore Airlines connects Christchurch with Changi on a daily basis and I want to thank them for what this means to our city.
But our connections are also our ambitions for the future – smart, sustainable and secure – cities of the 21st century firmly focused on our people and our place in the world.
It is an honour to be here this evening to congratulate Singapore on this historic occasion.