I'd like to acknowledge some of the distinguished guests here this evening:
- · Ngai Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon
- · Members of the Christchurch African Council and the Soul of Africa
- · The Christchurch Migrants Centre
- · Canterbury Police Superintendent Gary Knowles
Christchurch's cultural community is growing and right now is an exciting time for our city to be welcoming more members from different cultures around the world. A vibrant cultural community is key to the foundation of any great city and here in Christchurch we are lucky to welcome people from all over the world.
Our city is going through a time of great change and, now more than ever, our communities must come together to celebrate and reflect.
The exhibitions and performances so far tonight have been stirring and I would like to acknowledge all the groups who have put what is clearly a great amount of time into preparing for this occasion.
As well as celebrating the 19 African communities represented here tonight, this evening has a more sombre theme which is of great importance in our community. Family violence is a problem of too great a magnitude across our community and it is incredibly important that events such as this raise awareness of the issues and seek remedies for those who suffer.
We must acknowledge the problems in our communities before we can do anything to change them. Talking about the issues and getting involved are the best first steps. Evenings such as this are important to creating awareness right across the community that there are people here to help – as community leaders, we must role-model this behaviour and help address this issues our people are facing.
I am pleased to attend this wonderful event this evening and look forward to many more celebrations of our growing migrant community.