The Governor General visited the hub on the 2nd August. Here is a copy of the welcoming speech for the occasion.
“Your Excellencies, The Rt Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne.
Tēnā kōrua katoa
Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Viviana toku ingoa
Nō Itaria au
Kei Ōtautahi toku kainga, ināianei
Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa. Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.
In my capacity as the Phillipstown Community Hub Coordinator, on behalf of the Phillipstown Community Centre Charitable Trust and all the community groups operating from the Hub, greetings, kia ora. It is an honour for us to host your excellencies here at our home.
So, haere mai, welcome to the Phillipstown Community Hub. This is a remarkable development, an example we hope to see replicate all over New Zealand. This is a place where diverse cultures, diverse communities, diverse people from so many different backgrounds gather together and feel safe and welcome to connect, communicate and share moments of their lives.
A representation of the Hub would be the hangi we had last June when we celebrated Matariki: it was cooked in the ground, to preserve the flavour, to honour the tradition, to respect the cultural identity; but the meat was halal and a vegetarian option was also available. We wanted our hangi to be inclusive, respectful, embracing and thoughtful. We wanted our hangi to reflect our values.
The Hub was born in 2015, after the primary school was closed and merged with the Woolston Primary. The Hub was the result of ongoing engagement processes with the local community who wanted a place where residents could have access to different activities and services and could connect with each other as they used to when the school was here. Phillipstown is a low socio-economic area, with a high transient rate and many single parent families.
In the last 3 years, the Hub has become home for 11 permanent groups and more than 85 groups have used these spaces for their programmes. Currently, 58 community groups run their projects here every week. Many of them wouldn’t if this place wasn’t available. Together we offer a wide range of activities covering different fields – recreational, educational, counselling, support, socialization – and together we create bigger and more effective outcomes for our communities, bigger than if we worked in isolation.
We influence and inspire each other, we share skills, resources, dreams, and aspirations. We enrich each other contributing with our personal and professional backgrounds, bringing our own unique vision and abilities to the group, we listen and learn from each other, we support each other.
The Hub represents the diverse composition of New Zealand: our communities are kiwi families, solo parents, members of the LGBT community, people affected by the earthquakes and isolation, Maori, Pasifika, Pākehā, migrants, refugees, sport lovers, people with disabilities, environmental activists, human rights activists, retired people, students, people who have had a difficult life, people who would like to give back to the community. This is a space where community looks after community, where there is always a space for everybody, where anybody can find an opportunity to flourish, to mix and mingle, to learn, connect and participate. And why not, also to lead.
We are the New Zealand Society: one river formed by many streams coming from different regions, bringing different natural elements, but eventually all the waters mix together and give birth to a richer and more powerful river. So, thank you, Your Excellencies, for coming and visiting this unrestrainable river of ours!”