EEO Trust Work and Life Awards 2010

Speech – New Zealand Government

Thursday 28 October 2010; 6.30pm Speech Auckland War Memorial Museum Dome – EEO Trust Work and Life Awards 2010 Hon Tariana Turia
Minister of Disability Issues

Thursday 28 October 2010; 6.30pm Speech

Auckland War Memorial Museum Dome – EEO Trust Work and Life Awards 2010
I want to thank Michael Barnett, the Chair of the EEO Trust, for according me the privilege of being able to share a few words in this very exciting night.

I apologise for Minister Pansy Wong not being here as she is on hobbit duty in the house tonight.

It is with genuine pleasure that I join with you all, to celebrate the entrants, the winners, the supporters and the families brought together for the EEO Trust Work and Life Awards 2010.

You know, for some of my mokopuna their birthdays are no sooner over than they’re counting down the days until their next one.That’s how I feel about these awards.
In fact tonight has a lot to live up to.

I was so impressed by the amazing diversity of talent and the sheer dedicated commitment of the employers who featured in the 2009 awards that these awards have become for me a symbol of success.

The success I talk of is not just about being award-winners.

It is the success of the spirit rising above adversity; the courage to dare to mighty things; the will to succeed.

These awards are an ideal opportunity to pay our tributes to all those who have experienced the glorious triumph of applying the very best of themselves to whatever challenge awaits.

There is no greater food for the soul, than to be uplifted by the achievements of others. In honouring the attributes of others, we are ourselves inspired.
But these awards are not just about the champions masquerading as employers.

The award evening is also our chance to highlight the exceptional attitude of entire workplaces throughout Aotearoa, who really do believe that it is in valuing people that they create value for the business.
This concept of valuing and being valued is, I believe, the essential ingredient in making these awards such a significant event in the calendar.

As the Minister of Disability Issues, I am constantly confronting what we might call the disabling society – that is a society which seeks to limit and constrain possibilities by the attitudes that prevail.

The EEO Trust Work and Life Awards absolutely shatter any myths that difference is to be feared or at the least, avoided.
These awards provide tangible, demonstrable evidence of the way in which all employees can feel valued in their workplace.

They highlight the entrepreneurial spirit that is expressed in some organisations, as they seek to enable their employees to meet their commitments outside work as well as at work.

We are witness to workplaces who welcome family into their midst; who enable work-life balance to mean something.

These people truly believe in the potential waiting to be harnessed; whether that be through literacy and numeracy support; taking up skills training or Human Resource innovations that are all about making the difference.

Earlier this year, I spent a couple of days in Adelaide, visiting the Community Living Project which has at its heart, the mission to encourage a community in which we are all valued.

There is a statement that they made, which I believe represents the approach so many of the organisations who are here tonight take in the way they run their business. That statement was,

“We need to be cautious that we do not fall into thinking that it will be us that will change the world. We may well hope to have a generous, motivating, thoughtful and helpful presence alongside people; however their world shouldn’t have us at its centre, nor should it crumble without us.

In the long run, our success can only ever be measured by the security, intimacy and embrace that the people we serve find amongst their own family and friends and in their own lives in our community”.

I want to offer my own congratulations – and the warm wishes and recognition from the Maori Party and our Government colleagues – to everyone who has come from near and afar, to inspire hope in us all.

Your investment in the power and potential of people is something to be truly proud of.

You are showing the way forward for a nation which celebrates diversity; which values the people as our most significant asset; and which deserves our wholehearted support.

Tena tatou katoa


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