New Zealand Boarding Schools Assn Conference
Wednesday 16 May 2007
Good morning. I am delighted to welcome you to Christchurch and to your conference. One of the great things about the Crown Plaza is the close walking distance to the Arts Centre and Cathedral Square.
I hope that during the conference that you will take time to reflect on the speed with which our children are approaching life and to reflect on our sense of community and the absolute need to embrace our children and comfort them, and at certain stages in their lives to protect them from themselves.
Christchurch welcomes boarding students into the city and recognises that we have to do what we can to provide a safe living environment by supporting initiatives as diverse as youth facilities and well lit streets.
Like most cities we are becoming, more and more, a multi cultural city. This has caused some tensions but we have learnt to celebrate this diversity. The Culture Galore Festival and the Chinese Lantern Festival have both become very popular events. I have initiated “It's Time to Talk” a programme where people sit down to a meal and engage in round table discussions on race relations and anything else that is touching out community.
I am sure that in your role as primary caregivers you are also finding that you are looking after a more diverse range of young people and that reflects the changing face of New Zealand.
It’s a huge challenge to be a parent and to bring up, in my case, four children, however, it is also very rewarding. I am sure that you also face challenges and reap rewards when you see young people leave your care as confident and well educated young adults.
Welcome to Christchurch. I am pleased to officially open the New Zealand Boarding Schools conference.