Powhiri for Kevin Lavery

04.04.13

E ngā iwi, e ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā maunga, e ngā awaawa, e ngā pātaka o ngā taonga tuku iho, tēnā koutou.
Te whare e tu nei tena koe
Ko Papatuanuku e takato nei tena koe
Kia hora te marino, kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, kia tere karohirohi i mua i tou huarahi.
Nō reira, noho pai mai i roto i ngā manaakitanga katoa.
Tēnā koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa

This morning we officially welcome the new CEO of the Wellington City Council, Dr Kevin Lavery, his wife Catherine and his family.

This is an opportunity for us to reflect on what a special place Wellington is: The connections that tie us to the world, our history and our sense of place, the great people who have shaped this city, who take us forward, and the opportunity for the organisation to deliver on its vision for Wellington: Smart Capital.

Kevin Lavery comes to a beautiful city. I remember flying in over the hills and seeing sparkling blue sea and wooden houses with multicoloured roofs, the rugged hills, the wind, the sparkling harbour, the abundant birdlife and green space, places for contemplation and inspiration.

As this Powhiri demonstrates, we value our sense of place here in Wellington: our cultural connections, our shared history and how we’re building on the settlements with Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust and Ngati Toa.

A Foundation of Wellington’s vision is Connected City. Connected with our people, our history and our natural environment. Connected with the world - culturally, economically and politically. Connected with vision to be Smart Capital and the opportunities to advance Wellington forward.

Another foundation of our vision is to be a People-Centred City. Making Wellington a place where talent wants to live; A place where people have the opportunity to thrive, to create and to succeed; A place for families to grow, for everyone to engage in recreation, for children to have the best education.

Wellington must play to its strengths, and people are its strength. We have the most highly educated population in New Zealand. Our knowledge economy will propel Wellington forward, we seeing that in the success of businesses like Xero, Sidhe, Matakina Technologies. We’re making a progressive, inclusive and innovative society.

As the saying goes: He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata. What is the most important thing? The People The People The People.

Kevin, to you and your family, today we welcome you as our people. We are a nation of migrants, from the Pacific, from all parts of Asia - and of course, even London. And Wellington is a city of migrants. People from all over New Zealand are drawn to Wellington, they stay here because they love here; they are connected here. We wish for you and your family to embrace our Wellington as a dynamic, exciting and enjoyable home.

Kevin joins us at a critical time in Wellington’s history. Urban redevelopment for affordable housing, valuing our natural environment, city-wide transport planning, sustainable economic growth and shared services or amalgamation are just some of the challenges we face.

It is appropriate we acknowledge the incredible importance of the role of the CEO. This is the fulcrum between the people’s representatives and the people’s servants; The person charged with delivering real outcomes, action and service to the people of Wellington; The person who leads our organisation to deliver on the vision set forth by the elected representatives.

So this is a wonderful opportunity for Wellington. This is an opportunity for fresh thinking, an opportunity to be assertive and confident of our place in New Zealand and the world and an opportunity for our city to maintain all the special, unique and downright terrific qualities and characteristics that make us the Coolest Little Capital in the World!

With our sense of place, our people and the opportunities before us, we’re in for an exciting time for the Capital.

Kevin, to you and your family, welcome to Wellington.

The speech delivered may vary from this text.