No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.
Thank you for the opportunity to welcome everyone here and especially to you Prime Minister.
It is always a pleasure to welcome you to Ōtautahi, Christchurch, and of course I don’t need to welcome our own local MP and Minister, the Hon Dr Megan Woods.
I wanted to be here today to acknowledge the government’s commitment to this and other significant projects in our city with the shovel ready fund.
Thank you, Prime Minister.
You have seen today, the fruits of your government’s decision to commit to our nation’s recovery. You can be proud of what that commitment has meant in terms of breathing new life into the YMCA and the creation of Hotel Give. And it’s only Stage 1 with more to come.
I also wanted to be part of today’s relaunch of an old familiar institution as our country’s first socially sustainable hotel.
We are a city of firsts – we were New Zealand’s first city established by Royal Charter and now New Zealand’s newest city.
The city is making real progress, and if there is a project which defines the word regeneration, then this is it.
And it’s only stage 1.
The YMCA has a proud tradition of playing a key part in making the city welcoming and relevant to young people. It is part of the wellbeing focus that your government has demonstrated a commitment to, and one where we see partnerships as the way of the future.
Reinvesting the profits of the Hotel in a maker-space environment that will encourage our young people to explore possibilities that they may not have otherwise considered is a powerful message to send everyone who stays here. By staying at the hotel, you are literally investing in the future.
I went to the certificate presentations for Start Me Up which was developed and funded by a partnership between ChristchurchNZ and MSD; and delivered by the Ministry of Awesome and ThincLab. Many of the participants were staring down the barrel of unemployment, and here they were unlocking entrepreneurial possibilities.
It’s another Christchurch first and demonstrates the benefit of partnerships. One of the participants said it had been life-changing.
And that’s what will make this model succeed - no programmes or prerequisites – it’s the opportunity to explore the potential that lies within using tools that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them - and I know the young people will find this equally life-changing.
So, to John and the Board of the YMCA and Josie and the team, thank you for your vision and congratulations on a job well done. You have been missed while this work has gone on, and I am hoping that the Duo sign on Rolleston Ave means one of my favourite little restaurants will also be back soon.
And I’m really looking forward to Stage 2 as well.
The Ngāi Tahu whakatauki speaks to today. Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – for us and our children after us.
No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.