We are here today to celebrate the important and vital contribution of Mangere Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church in creating strong communities - which are an essential part of the future of New Zealand.
E muamua lava ona fa'atalofa atu i le paia ma le mamalu ua aofia I lenei taeao matagofie, I le afio o Tupu ma E'e o Samoa, Faletua ma Tausi, aemaise susuga ia Fa'afeagaiga ma o latou faletua, aemaise o tatou matua matutua ma alo ma fanau ua fa'atasi mai I lenei fa'atasiga matagofie.
Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Ni sa bula vinaka, Namaste, Ia Orana, Gud de tru olgeta, Talofa ni, Talofa, Kia ora tatou and warm Pacific greetings to you all.
Thank you for your warm introduction and for inviting me to speak at this celebration of history. It is a great honour to be here today to celebrate 35 years of the Mangere Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church and the successful launch of your history book.
I would particularly like to acknowledge:
* His Worship, Mayor Len Brown;
* Rev Ma'afala Koko, Moderator of Auckland Presbytery;
* Rev Maua Sola, Rev Rex Stanley, Rev Vaiora Robati;
* The church secretaries;
* And all you, the members, families and friends of the PIC congregation.
Our thoughts and prayers are also with PIC Mangere church pioneers and elders who have passed on an amazing legacy for us all to follow.
Today, we are here to celebrate the past and embrace the future, we are here to celebrate your congregation's history, which has been a success through the spirit of commitment and co-operation. Even before the church was officially opened in 1972, Ministers, local families and community members worked together to engage and gain support to establish a PIC parish in Mangere.
With a large number of parishioners and a lack of church infrastructure, the first official Samoan service was held at a local Mangere hall in 1968. It was thanks to the commitment and goodwill from families and your communities to make things happen, that the first church building was established in 1972.
As you know, our families were very active in church life and the parish numbers grew steadily, with the building being used every night by committees and groups for a variety of activities.
To cater for this vibrant and strong parish, a new church building was officially opened in 1982. The hard work, unwavering commitment and determination to achieve your goals and aspirations saw the opening of your pre-school building in 2003 and the car park redevelopment.
Mangere Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church was one of the first parishes to cater for the needs of Pacific people - this was possible because of strong leadership and the determination and commitment of your communities.
The launch of your history book tells different stories of our people, and their place in church, including the church values, customs and traditions and the support of each of the different ethnic communities.
Today is a fantastic opportunity for us to acknowledge and thank those who give their time freely to contribute to this parish. I am constantly humbled by the wonderful contributions that ordinary Pacific peoples make to their communities and churches, and many of you are here today.
Both the book and the celebration of your journey present an opportunity for us to undertake our own voyages of discovery in our church relations and community commitment.
Our Pacific values and our sense of belonging are shaped by our families, communities and church. As a member of the Christian community, it is heartening to see that through faith and our responsibilities as New Zealanders, we are able to work together to create a supportive environment through service and giving.
Later, you will see the wonderful photographic images and read about the journey written and compiled by members of your different island groups. These vibrant images tell stories.
When I look at these images, I think of the journey of our ancestors through our families and our communities. As a Pacific woman, I relate to these images because they demonstrate Pacific values which our communities and churches are based on - alofa, fa'aaloalo, and agaga - love, respect, reciprocity and spirituality. These values are demonstrated through tautua - service.
The success of our generation in New Zealand is our parent's and grandparent's legacy. We are grateful to our elders for their contribution and the sacrifices they made in order to make this nation a wonderful place for us to live in. I learnt many lessons from those who are close to my heart and I have carried them with me throughout my life.
As Minister of Pacific Island Affairs and part of the Labour-led government, I am proud of the success and achievements of our Pacific communities. Our government wants to build on those successes in order to fully develop and harness the immense talent and contribution of Pacific peoples to New Zealand society.
Our Labour-led government knows that New Zealand only succeeds when our Pacific families are strong and thriving - and we have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation of the contribution that Pacific peoples have made to New Zealand.
Your motivation and inspiration has supported and promoted the wellbeing of our Pacific people, who are the foundation on which our families and communities are built.
Our government recognises the passion, effort and struggle of our people and I am confident that we will continue work together to provide leadership and excellent role models for our younger generations.
The book we are launching today contains valuable information and better information leads to better policy making. It also leads to better recognition and awareness of the contributions made to our society by the non-profit sector.
Your history book contains stories of pioneers who laid strong foundations for our communities and must never be forgotten.
It is fantastic that we are here today to celebrate the important and vital contribution of Mangere Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church in creating strong communities - which are an essential part of the future of New Zealand. We need to continue to celebrate and value the positive, vibrant goodwill that is in our people.
I would like to thank all those who have worked tremendously hard to make today's celebrations possible. I would also like to thank all those who have contributed to the history book, which is a rich narrative of your church and your people. You have given us an opportunity to reunite and to remind us of the courage, determination and perseverance of our Pacific people.
Warmest congratulations to you all on the 35 years of your church. Best wishes for today's celebrations and may God bless you all.
Soifua ma ia manuia