1 Jan 2013

New Year message from Governor General

12:43 pm on 1 January 2013

The Governor General has issued a New Year message and a reminder that 2013 marks the centenary of the last year of peace before two world wars.

Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae said 2012 was a year that New Zealand celebrated the Queen's diamond jubilee and marked the first anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Christchurch.

''On 6 February, as we marked the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, we also celebrated the 60 years Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been our Queen. The Diamond Jubilee year was an opportunity to reflect on Her Majesty's service to us.

''On 22 February, New Zealanders stopped at 12.51pm to mark the first anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Christchurch.

''It was a time to honour the lives of those we lost, and to look to the rebuilding of Christchurch, which has now begun in earnest. It was also a year when we considered how we might respond to such events in the future.''

Sir Jerry said2013 will mark two quite different anniversaries.

''This year is the centenary of the last year of peace, before two world wars in 30 years engulfed our world.

''From 2014 onwards we will mark a series of centenaries in the First World War, including the fateful landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

''It was once said that: "Peace is the dream of the wise, and war is the history of man." That contrast is seen most vividly at the National War Memorial in Wellington,'' he said.

''While the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior stands as a silent sentinel of the sacrifice of those who died to keep our nation free, the Hall of Memories is dominated by a beautiful bronze sculpture of a grieving mother comforting her children.

''The sculpture is a poignant reminder of the families left behind when our soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen have headed overseas to defend our nation from tyranny, or to bring peace to troubled lands.

''Both memorials also remind us of the tragic losses New Zealand has suffered, including in Afghanistan in the last year.

''The sculpture also reminds us of the role of women in our society, especially as 2013 marks 120 years of women's suffrage.

''In 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote. Since that time, women have made an ever widening contribution to our society in fields as diverse as government, business, the law, the arts, science, medicine and sport.

''As 2013 begins and we make our resolutions for the New Year, we recall the contribution of women to New Zealand and the many privileges we enjoy,'' he said.