Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou i runga i te kaupapa o te rā
Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou katoa
Minister Nicky Wagner
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
It gives me very great pleasure to be here this afternoon.
Two weeks ago when the WORD Writers & Readers Festival was on I spent almost my entire weekend here at the Piano.
I think in that one weekend this beautiful facility confirmed for me it was already living up to its claim to be a world class facility for New Zealand and a home for music and the arts in Canterbury.
The Music Centre of Christchurch was officially opened in April of 1994.
I attended many recitals in the former Music centre, I heard the Youth Choir sing there – I even did a fundraising debate there. It was a wonderful use for this historic chapel.
Seven years later the buildings were seriously damaged in the earthquakes and six years later we are here; the “magnifence” may be modern, but magnificent it is.
I remember speaking at the announcement of the Performing Arts Precinct – I talked about the role of the arts in recovery – and that it isn’t just the buildings that need to be rebuilt or repaired. I talked about the cultural and social fabric that makes a city a city.
It’s not the Piano, as a building alone, that we celebrate today; it is the people who will perform here, the people who will be entertained, challenged, excited.
The wonderful thing about the arts is that, how we relate to what we are seeing or reading or hearing, is a deeply personal experience – one person can feel uplifted, while another is moved to tears.
The arts can speak truth to power in the way people sometimes cannot.
Thank you for inviting me to share in this occasion.
I want to congratulate the whole team behind this project – the architect, Anthony Lees and his team, the sponsors, the Trust Board and the team of staff – you can be very proud of what you have achieved. But more importantly, on behalf of the city, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Nō reira, Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa