I particularly want to thank and welcome the Netherlands Ambassador, Mira Woldberg, for the opportunity to co-host this event and thank her for all the embassy has done to bring this together
Can I also acknowledge Gerald Van Looy, South Island Honorary Consul for all his work as well.
On the Council team, General Manager Brendan Anstiss and our acting Chief Resilience Officer Adair Broughton have ensured that we can come together to discuss these important issues, while the rest of the team have enabled us to meet Level 2 requirements at short notice. Thank you.
And thank you and welcome to all of you who have come to hear our special Guest Speaker - Mr Henk Ovink who is Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
In 2019 I travelled to the Netherlands and had the opportunity to meet Henk and others with expertise on water issues.
I already knew about Henk through Rebuild by Design, although focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, represents a transformative approach to climate change.
I invited Henk to come to New Zealand - I felt there was so much we could learn about their approach to living with water, and the future-thinking that was applied to everything they did in this space. I thought this made Henk an ideal contributor to helping us take a helicopter view. Because that’s what we collectively need to do - we need to rise above the immediate and pressing issues and look forward. The inter generational challenges are there.
Everything fell into place for Henk to visit in 2020 and then there was COVID.
But technology has allowed us to start the conversation today.
We’re meeting at a time when for Henk, it’s mid-evening and he has a curfew he needs to beat home. For those of us here, it’s the start of our working day.
The fact that we are willing to come together at all hours reinforces the significance of water and climate resilience as global issues.
Henk, we are very pleased to have you share your knowledge and insights with us.
We share common interests in water matters and in seeking nature-based solutions to issues such as the management of floodplains and the threat of coastal inundation. We value your leadership in this area, as well as the positive relationship we have developed with water experts in the Netherlands.
In ChCh we are building community understanding of the importance of adaptation planning and we are exploring the opportunities offered by the Otakaro Avon river Corridor to build our city’s climate resilience.
As you have stated climate change is Too Big to ignore, too big to simplify, too big for our systems, too big to go it alone and too big for fragmentation. We look forward to hearing from you about how we might work with others to secure our future.