Rt. Rev Bishop Manuhuia Bennett


There are two or three things that I’d like to do before I have the closing prayer.


One is to join with those who offer our congratulations and our gratitude to The F.I.R.S.T. Foundation as organisers of this very important, history making conference of ours.


The second thing I’d like to do is to acknowledge these kids, not bad eh? It makes us very proud indeed and it has been a great privilege to be here to see and to listen and to learn from you whom we took so much pain to teach.


The third thing I’d like to do is to thank everybody who spoke during the course of this conference and who made such valuable contributions to the way the conference has gone, its direction and to the results that I’m sure will come from it


I want to pay particular acknowledgement to Moana [Jackson], our last speaker. I think he just topped the whole thing off. I’ve never heard such a brilliant speech in all my life.


I couldn’t help my mind going back to Peter Buck and Apirana Ngata and to all those other people who sacrificed themselves to get us where we are today. Part of the theme of this afternoon’s speech was uniqueness and one of the unique things that came out of it for me was this. I’ve never seen anyone like Moana, so conscious of his obligations, his duty, to stand as the connecting link between the past and its richness and future generations with the limitless potential that will come out of that. For me it has been a great experience


So, happy travelling as you make your way home. I am reminded of Kara’s [Puketapu] talk this morning when he said “Stop grieving. Leave your grieving behind”. So many of you talked about visions and I talked about dreams and nightmares (they all go together).


So I hope that every one of you will do what Kara said. Remember your uniqueness as you stand between yesterday and tomorrow and do your best to make sure that you never cease to be the descendents of your tupuna who came from Hawaiki. Because if you lose that then you’ve lost everything.


Kia ora tatou