Can I also acknowledge Sir Tipene O’Regan, Tom McBrearty of Cancern, Sam Johnson of the Student Volunteer Army and Maan Alkaisi and Rod Donald of the Quake Families Trust
I wanted to speak tonight to both acknowledge and thank Gerard Smyth and the entire team from Frank Film who are here this evening – this is your night.
It’s a real privilege to be able to safely gather together in this special place – the Theatre Royal - to watch this important reflection on how we have seen and experienced our city’s journey of recovery.
This place represents a significant part of one of the chapters in the story of the history we have lived and which this film seeks to capture.
I remember watching When a City Falls for the first time – and feeling strongly affected by the proximity to so much trauma that Gerard was able to capture on film, coupled with an incredible sense of pride in the way we had come together in the aftermath of such horror.
The San Francisco emergency management website reminds us that “actual emergencies do look more like people coming together, than cities falling apart”. That was very much my experience.
Gerard – you have said this is a film by us, about us and for us. And that is obvious from who is here tonight.
Can I acknowledge the musicians, who have helped to create a special atmosphere for telling our story.
I don’t know how I feel about tonight. The advantage of not having a preview is the sense of anticipation about what we will see, knowing that it will be a shared experience. The disadvantage is not being able to prepare for returning to what has been a very emotional time in so many of our lives.
It feels a bit like a reunion already, with so many people, who I didn’t know before the 4th of September 2010 – the kinds of people who stood up and contributed when a City Falls, so they could be part of what happens When a City Rises.
Thank you to each and every one of you.
It is because of you that we can begin the next decade of our recovery and repositioning – with a real sense of optimism for our future – which is one of the reasons why I am looking forward to the discussion afterwards with Joanna Norris:
Gerard Smyth – film director
James Lunday – urban designer
Dr Jessica Halliday – architectural historian
Richard Peebles – property investor
Dame Anna Crighton – heritage campaigner and historian
Ciaran Fox – mental health promotion strategist.
So, let us watch, reflect and then stay on afterwards to debate our journey – where we have been and where we are going in the future - acknowledging just how much our experience has prepared us for that.
And again, Gerard thank you for providing us with the tools to help us continue that journey.
Thank you not only for telling our story, but for being such an important part of our story.