Cnuasach Aitheasc ó Chuairt Stáit Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn, chuig An Nua-Shéalainn 2017
Collected Speeches from the State Visit by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, to New Zealand 2017
President Higgins at the New Zealand Rugby House in Wellington
Clár an Ábhair Contents State Dinner hosted by the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand
Reception for the Irish Community, Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand
Reception for the Irish Community, Christchurch
‘Ireland and New Zealand - Of some origins and prospects of two nations who share so many experiences and interests’
Greeting/Short Remarks, Waitangi Treaty Ground
Reception for the Irish Community and Business Contacts, Auckland
State Dinner hosted by the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand
Speech by Michael D. Higgins President of Ireland
Government House, Wellington Tuesday, 24th October, 2017
A Seanascail Reddy, a chairde Gael, Tá an-áthas orm a bheith libh anseo sa Nua-Shéalainn. Is mór an onóir é dom féin agus do Saidhbhín an deis a bheith againn cuairt a thabhairt ar an tír álainn seo. Dame Reddy, thank you for hosting a State Dinner on the occasion of this State Visit to New Zealand. Sabina and I are deeply honoured. It is a privilege and a pleasure to visit your beautiful country and this evening is a magnificent start to what I am sure will be a wonderful experience for us. This visit is a celebration of the many personal, historic and cultural links between two small island nations at opposite ends of the world. We are both small outward-looking island nations, perhaps at opposite ends of the globe but sharing a common outlook in most matters. Whether it be how we manage our economies, how we value rules-based international relations or even our mutual love of Rugby. Distance has not made us strangers to each other, nor should it and I am pleased to acknowledge the presence and culture of the first arrivals, their culture and ancestors – those who were here before our first Irish. Irish people have been in New Zealand since the start of European settlement here and continue to come here today to visit, work, study and seek out new opportunities. We have also welcomed many New Zealanders to Ireland, particularly tourists and the young people availing of the Working Holiday Visa programme, which offers them a fantastic opportunity to really experience Irish life. I hope many more New Zealanders continue to visit us in future. I would like to thank you and the people of New Zealand for the warm welcome you have accorded to Irish citizens over the years. Thousands of Irish people have made this country their home over the past few centuries and the people of Ireland take great pride in the positive contribution they have made to New Zealand. To name just a few, Irishman John Robert Godley founded Christchurch. Irishman William Hobson played a key role in the Treaty of Waitangi negotiations. We in Ireland continue to take a keen interest in New Zealand today. With approximately one in six New Zealanders claiming Irish ancestry, our histories are very much intertwined. I hope that our countries will be equally close into the future.
President Higgins addressing the State Dinner hosted by H.E. the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor General of New Zealand, and H.E. Sir David Gascoigne 5
At our meeting earlier today, I was very pleased to announce the Irish Government’s decision to open an embassy in New Zealand, which will deepen our friendship, strengthen our cooperation and further develop our trade and economic links. New Zealand’s decision earlier this year that it will open a resident Embassy in Dublin in the near future is also an indication of the strength of our relationship. Agriculture, agri-business and agriPresident Higgins addressing the State Dinner hosted by H.E. the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor General technology are of course of great of New Zealand, and H.E. Sir David Gascoigne importance to both the Irish and New Zealand economies. I was very pleased to see that New Zealand Trade and Enterprise had a stand at this year’s Ploughing Championships in Tullamore. Enterprise Ireland of course has been a regular at the Fieldays in Hamilton for over a decade. New Zealand is an important and growing trade partner for Ireland, particularly in a post-Brexit environment. There are many opportunities for New Zealand companies in Ireland. Likewise, New Zealand is an increasingly important market for Irish companies both in its own right and as a base for the Asia Pacific region. The close working relationship between Ireland and New Zealand across the range of issues associated with disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation is very important to us. We share the same principled approach and historic commitment to disarmament. We appreciate very much your stance on nuclear disarmament, your strong voice during negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons earlier this year, as well as your co-sponsorship of the resolution which gave the conference its mandate. I know that a love of sport is also something the people of Ireland and New Zealand have in common. This summer, Ireland was thrilled to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup. New Zealand, of course, did rather well! Ireland is bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. A few weeks ago, a crowd of 82,000 filled Croke Park for the All-Ireland Football Final. I’m looking forward to seeing the same ground filled with 82,000 rugby fans for a World Cup final, when maybe, just maybe, Ireland can edge out the All Blacks for a second time! Once again, Governor-General Reddy, it is an honour for Sabina and I to be here this evening and we are very much looking forward to exploring as much of this amazing country as we can. A week’s visit is of course far too short but we will make the most of the time we have. In thanking you for your welcome to Sabina and I and to our compatriots, I would like to take this opportunity to raise a toast: “To Her Majesty the Queen and to the People of New Zealand.”
Reception for the Irish Community Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand
Michael D. Higgins Uachtarán na hÉireann, President of Ireland
Wellington Wednesday, 25th October, 2017
A Chairde Gael, a Dhaoine Uaisle, Tá an-áthas orm féin agus ar Saidhbhín a bheith anseo libh sa Nua-Shéalainn. Ár mbuíochas leis an Ambasadóir Keating as an fáiltiú seo a óstáil dúinn. May I begin by thanking Ambassador Keating for hosting this reception. Sabina and I are delighted to have an opportunity to meet so many members of the Irish community, those active in Irish-New Zealand business and of course, the Diplomatic Corps who have the great good fortune to be posted to this beautiful country, and who represent Ireland so well. It is, indeed, a great pleasure to be in New Zealand again, a place where approximately one in six citizens can claim Irish ancestry. Indeed, with many thousands of Irish people having travelled here since the mid-19th century, the history of Ireland and New Zealand is strongly intertwined. Irish people came here in search of work and a better future, taking jobs as labourers, miners, and domestic servants. They established new communities and neighbourhoods, and were to become an integral part of a country that they and their children would call ‘home’. It is greatly apt that we gather here in New Zealand’s globally renowned Te Papa Tongarewa Museum; a place which invites us to explore the rich heritage and many stories that have created the New Zealand we know today. I was delighted to receive the opportunity to view the most inspiring Maori exhibition here and to witness how the Maori culture, such an important basis for the national tapestry of New Zealand, is both recognised and celebrated as a central part of this country’s story. The Irish, too, have made their deep and lasting contribution to this beautiful country. So many of you here today have stories, deeply embedded within your family history, which speak of the profound connections which have linked Ireland and New Zealand across generations and centuries. They are separate stories, unique in many ways to your own families, but also critical elements of the fuller story of Irish migration to New Zealand.
President Higgins at Parliament buildings during a meeting with the newly elected Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern 8
Here in Wellington, as in other cities and towns across New Zealand, Irish surnames are prominent in the worlds of business, politics, culture, public service, education and in many other areas critical to the building of a strong economy, participative citizenship and a truly democratic society. Indeed, visiting this city which became of course the Seat of Government for New Zealand in 1865, we can recall for example the name of Co Antrim born John Balance, who became the 14th Prime Minister of New Zealand. John Balance’s dedication to public service was remarkable and he firmly believed in the profession of politics and in its potential to transform society for the better. His achievements were many including the introduction of new systems of income and property tax which was to greatly benefit New Zealand’s economy; the cultivation of strong relations with the first arrivals on these Islands, the Maori population which led to the settlement of many land issues; and the introduction of female suffrage which saw New Zealand become the first country in the world to allow women the right to vote. John, like so many Irish people, made a profound and lasting impact on New Zealand and left a legacy which continued to shape and craft this great country. Indeed, the greatest link between Ireland and New Zealand has always been our people. Irish citizens have travelled to New Zealand since the beginning of European settlement here and continue to come today to seek out new opportunities. Wellington is home to a thriving and dynamic community, who draw on all that is best about our Irishness while also contributing to a city and country to which you, or your ancestors, came as strangers and remained as active and participative citizens. As a nation we in Ireland also remain very conscious of the enormous debt of gratitude we owe to those who have left our shores over so many years. Their hard work, and generous support and encouragement to those who remained at home have played a significant role in the shaping and crafting of the modern Ireland we know today. I am, therefore, always so very pleased to be able to acknowledge and thank in person, the representatives of our Irish communities across the globe who do so much to help each other, to support your homeland in so many ways, and who are such valued ambassadors for Ireland. I am also so happy as President of Ireland to thank the Irish communities who extend a hand of friendship to new waves of emigrants from Ireland, as they too begin new chapters in a country that has welcomed and supported so many of our people. Groups like the Wellington Irish Society are home to many Irish celebratory, social and cultural events as well as providing a space of welcome and friendship to new Irish emigrants as they seek to create a life here in Wellington. The Wellington and Hutt Valley GAA Club is also one of New Zealand’s leading sport and cultural organisations and allows so
President Higgins laying a wreath at the Pukeahu National War Memorial in Wellington 9
President Higgins with Maurice Trapp, President of New Zealand Rugby, honouring Dave Gallagher, Captain of the Originals
many of our diaspora to retain their love of GAA sports. The reach and inclusivity of the GAA stretches beyond these shores and the GAA community has provided an important sense of home and continuity for our emigrants over the years – many of them battling against a sense of displacement as they tried to create new homes around the world. It has also introduced many New Zealanders of Irish descent, and indeed those with no connection to Ireland, to an important part of our proud culture and heritage. New Zealand has been a good friend to Ireland and I think Ireland has reciprocated by being a good friend to New Zealand. In every generation, the Irish who came here brought with them their strength, determination, creativity, ambition and resolve to build successful lives and a thriving society. Today New Zealand is, of course an important and growing trade partner for Ireland, particularly in a postBrexit environment. There are many opportunities for New Zealand companies in Ireland. Likewise, New Zealand is an increasingly important market for Irish companies both in its own right and as a base for the Asia Pacific region. As we look to the future I am confident that our close friendship will continue to thrive and flourish. We, in Ireland, are delighted to welcome and extend a cead míle fáilte to the many New Zealanders who travel to Ireland every year, some as tourists and some availing of the Working Holiday Visa programme. I know that this programme offers many young New Zealanders a valuable opportunity to really experience Irish life and culture and to witness both all that we have in common and the differences that allow us to bring such different perspectives to each other’s countries. In conclusion, agus mar fhocal scoir, is mian liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil libh ar fad as an fíorchaoin fáilte a d’fhear sibh romhainn inniu. [May I thank you for the very generous welcome you have extended to Sabina and I today and thank you once again for being such valued ambassadors for Ireland.] Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.
Reception for the Irish Community
Speech by Michael D. Higgins President of Ireland
Christchurch Thursday, 26th October, 2017
President Higgins and Sabina at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, Christchurch
A Chairde Gael, a Dhaoine Uaisle Tá áthas orm féin agus ar Saidhbhín an deis seo a ghlacadh bualadh leis an oiread seo de phobal na hÉireann sa Nua-Shéalann anseo anocht. Go raibh maith agaibh as an fáilte a d’fhear sibh romhainn. [Sabina and I are very pleased to have an opportunity to meet so many members of the Irish community in New Zealand here this evening. Thank you for your very warm welcome.] We are delighted to be in New Zealand and particularly in Christchurch, where six years ago the Irish community came together and worked with such dedication to rebuild a city that had been shattered by the tragic earthquake of February 2011. I visited the Earthquake Memorial Wall earlier today and saw the names of the 185 victims carved into its marble stone. Each name spoke of a life cut tragically short and of a family cruelly and suddenly deprived of a loved one. Amongst the names on that wall were those of two Irishmen, Owen McKenna from Emyvale in County Monaghan and John O’Connor from Aberdorney in Kerry. They were both young men building new lives for themselves and their families here in New Zealand. I have no doubt their untimely deaths have deprived the community of Christchurch of so much possibility and potential. It has been a privilege to meet members of Owen and John’s families here this evening. The connection between Ireland and Christchurch is a deeply rooted one. Dublin born John Robert Godley was the first leader of the Christchurch settlement. Described by Gladstone as ‘a king among men’ Godley 12
was a man of vision, who made a clear distinction between emigration and colonisation and sought to create a self-governing colony that would enable its citizens to grow in prosperity and moral stature. Although he died prematurely, and without achieving his vision, Godley’s legacy would greatly influence liberal colonial policy. Across the generations and centuries, many more Irish citizens have come to Christchurch, finding here a place of welcome and opportunity. They have made new lives here, contributed to the ongoing development of Christchurch and many have made their lasting impact on this community and on New Zealand society. Guarding and continuing that enviable legacy is now your task and the task of future generations because I am sure that Irish people will continue to visit, study, work and settle in New Zealand and in Christchurch well into the future. I know that many of you here this evening are already actively engaged in that work and I want to thank all those who promote greater awareness of the historic and cultural links between Ireland and New Zealand. It is important to remember and celebrate our shared history, even as we look to the promise of the future. With approximately one in six New Zealanders claiming Irish ancestry, our histories are very much intertwined and I am confident that the friendship that exists between our two countries will continue to grow and develop. The greatest link between Ireland and New Zealand has always been our people. Irish citizens have travelled to New Zealand since the start of European settlement here and continue to come here today to seek new opportunities. We have also welcomed many New Zealanders to Ireland, particularly tourists and those young people who avail of the Working Holiday Visa programme, which offers them a valuable opportunity to experience life in Ireland and the culture and heritage which so defines us as a people. New Zealand is also an important and growing trade partner for Ireland, particularly in a post-Brexit environment. There are many opportunities for New Zealand companies in Ireland. Likewise, New Zealand is an increasingly important market for Irish companies both in its own right and as a base for the Asia Pacific region. Agriculture, agri-business and agri-technology are of course of great importance to both the Irish and New Zealand economies. I was very pleased that New Zealand Trade and Enterprise had a stand at this year’s Ploughing Championships in Tullamore. Meanwhile Ireland has been a regular at the Fieldays in Hamilton on North Island for over a decade. I was delighted to learn that New Zealand intends to open a resident Embassy in Dublin in the near future. This will deepen our friendship, strengthen our cooperation and further develop our trade and economic links. I know that active consideration is also being given in Dublin to the question of opening new Irish diplomatic missions in this part of the world too. President Higgins and Sabina in Christchurch, at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, with the widow and children of Irishman Owen Thomas Mc Kenna, who was killed during the earthquake 13
A love of sport is shared by the people of Ireland and New Zealand. This summer, Ireland was delighted to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup. We are now bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. A few weeks ago, a crowd of 82,000 filled Croke Park for the All-Ireland Football Final. We hope that someday the same ground will be filled with 82,000 rugby fans for a World Cup final, when maybe, just maybe, Ireland can edge out the All Blacks for a second time! Before I conclude may I say that, as a nation, we in Ireland remain very conscious of the enormous debt of gratitude we owe to those who have left our shores over so many years. Their hard work, and generous support and encouragement to those who remained at home have played a significant role in the shaping and crafting of the modern Ireland we know today. I am, therefore, always so very pleased to be able to acknowledge and thank in person, the representatives of our Irish communities across the globe who do so much to help each other, to support your homeland in so many ways, and who are such valued ambassadors for Ireland. I am also so happy as President of Ireland to thank the Irish communities who extend a hand of friendship to new waves of emigrants from Ireland, as they too begin new chapters in a country that has welcomed and supported so many of our people. Groups like the Christchurch Irish society are home to many Irish celebratory, social and cultural events as well as providing a space of welcome and friendship to new Irish emigrants as they seek to create a life here in Wellington.
President Higgins at the Arts Centre in Christchurch for a meeting with members of the Irish diaspora 14
Meanwhile the Christchurch GAA has provided an important sense of home and continuity for our emigrants over the years, while also creating a strong connection between members of our diaspora who retain their love of GAA sports in whatever parts of the world they may find themselves. That sense of solidarity, of being a part of a wider global GAA family has often been a vital lifeline for emigrants struggling with homesickness and a sense of displacement. Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, is mian liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leo siúd ar fad a dhéanann a ndícheall a bheith cairdiúil leis na heisimircigh Éireannach atá ag cur fúthu anseo sa Nua-Shéalainn. [So may I thank all those who, in so many ways, continue to extend a hand of friendship and support to new waves of Irish emigrants travelling here to New Zealand.] New Zealand has been good to Irish people and we are very grateful for that. In every generation, the Irish who came here brought with them their strength, determination, ambition and resolve to build successful lives and a thriving society. As part of our Diaspora, you have of course also contributed to the development of Ireland. Having travelled all over Ireland and met with representatives of Irish communities worldwide, I can assure you that Ireland really does cherish its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad, as stated in our Constitution. It is a special privilege for Sabina and me to be here with you this evening celebrating that affinity and paying tribute to the work of Irish citizens in New Zealand. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir agus go dté sibh slán.
‘Ireland and New Zealand - Of some origins and prospects of two nations who share so many experiences and interests’
Speech by Michael D. Higgins President of Ireland
University of Auckland, Auckland Thursday, 27th October, 2017
A Sheansailéir, A Leas-Sheansailéir, A Mhic Léinn, A Dhaoine Uaisle, Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Students, Distinguished guests, Ar an gcéad dul síos is mian liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leat, a Leas-Sheansailéir, as d’fhocail deasa. Is mór an onóir dom é an deis seo a ghlacadh chun cainte libh san ollscoil uasal seo. May I thank you Vice-Chancellor, for your kind introduction this evening. It is an honour for me to address this august institution, which has contributed so much to the social, cultural and intellectual life of New Zealand. As a former University teacher, it is a pleasure at any time to return and speak at a university, but today it is a particular pleasure to have been asked to address a university from which one of the great literary movements of New Zealand emerged. It had as its image one that many literary revivers or renaissance share. Indeed it is an image that sits on top of a monument outside the gates of Áras an Uachtaráin, the home of the President of Ireland. I refer to the publication of that short-lived but seminal literary journal, Phoenix, in whose pages were first published the words of Allen Curnow, Rex Fairburn, Ronald Mason and Charles Brasch. The words of their ambitious declaration were inclusive and must surely ring from the thirties through the decades to us today: “We are hungry for the words that shall show us these islands and ourselves; that shall give us a home in thought.” I recall reflecting on these powerful words, their demand for a public culture and a space for culture as I prepared for my first visit to New Zealand in 1999. As a former Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht in Ireland and President of the Council of Culture Ministers of the European Union in 1996 during the Irish Presidency of the European Union I had been invited to address a symposium organised by the Broadcasting Commission and the Institute of Policy Studies in Wellington, to speak on the importance of creativity, and in particular, the future of public broadcasting. On that occasion I spoke, based on my experiences in Ireland, of the crucial importance and the democratic potential of public broadcasting, as invitation to the citizen to experience the timeless, the universal, the unimagined, and in providing a rich source of creativity. I spoke too, of the dangers of what was then an emerging, or indeed strengthening, perspective, which saw broadcasting as something lesser – as merely a production space for a commodified and homogenised entertainment. I reminded my audience of the title of Raymond Williams last public lecture “Be the arrow, not the target” with its powerful advocacy for active, participatory culture as alternative to the mass consumption of homogenised and monopolistic product. It is a privilege for me to return to this great country now as President of Ireland, and I am grateful for the invitation to address you this afternoon.
I was fascinated to learn of the early influence of Irish migrants on the development of this university. Its establishment in 1882 owed much to the efforts of George Maurice O’Rorke, the son of an Irish Anglican parson from County Galway, who rose to become the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Council of this University. As is the case with many Antipodean universities, migrant Irish scholars exerted a significant intellectual influence in those early years. If I were, as a former teacher of sociology, to single out one here today, it would be Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett, author of what is considered by many as one of the foundational texts in the sociology of literature. He was, like many Irish lawyers of his generation, schooled in the comparative jurisprudence of Henry Maine, a method which he extended to the study of literature and political economy. His first work, The Historical Method in Ethics, Jurisprudence, and Political Economy, encompassed a critique of the classical political economy of his day, a matter which remains of enduring interest to me. The influence of Irish scholars and politicians is but one small strand of a longer and enduring connection between New Zealand and Ireland. In the decade prior and immediately following the Treaty of Waitangi many of the Irish who came to these shores were migrants, sometimes escaped or time-expired convicts from the penal colonies across the Tasman, seeking to make, very often in this city, a new life in the rough and tumble trades of whaling, sealing, and timber-cutting. It was from this milieu, for example, that the Sydney-born Irish father of the Māori politician and government minister, James Carroll, emerged. Others were colonial administrators and soldiers, who came to serve here during the New Zealand Wars. The best known of the Irish administrators may be William Hobson, the naval commander from County Waterford and first governor of New Zealand who gave this city its name and drafted the Treaty of Waitangi. In those early years, the pattern of Irish settlement was concentred here on the North Island rather than the South Island, which was then developing according to the template of that champion of systemic colonisation’, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, for despite the involvement of John Robert Godley and James Edward Fitzgerald, both Anglo-Irish colonial enthusiasts, the enterprise of the New Zealand Company had few places for Irish migrants. It was the Otago gold rush of 1861 that brought the first large influx of Irish migrants, miners who had first sought their fortune in Ballarat and Bendigo, where alluvial deposits were now exhausted, and 49ers came too from across the Pacific Ocean, where ‘gold-fever’ had slowly given way to the imposition of the rule of law by the new state of California. The impact of this wave is clearly visible when one compares census returns: in 1861, on the cusp of discoveries at the Tuapeka and Waipori fields, the Irish-born population numbered 8,831. Just three years later, there were 20,317 Irish-born living in New Zealand. The Irish population in New Zealand had doubled. As Angela MacCarthy, Jock Phillips and Terry Hearn have shown in their research, new arrivals from Ireland followed through what scholars of migration refer to as a process of ‘chain migration’, as Irish people in New Zealand persuaded and, through nomination schemes established by the provinces of the young colony, secured the subsidised passage of their friends and family members. This process accelerated rapidly in the 1870s, under the influence of the ambitious assisted passage scheme championed by Jules Vogel. This vast project of the early entrepreneurial state dramatically expanded the possibility for nomination and extended the potential of direct recruitment of new colonists from Ireland – a hitherto underexplored possibility – in some provinces still beholden to the legacies of colonial companies such as the Canterbury Association.
Indeed, it was George Maurice O’Rorke who, as minister for immigration, ensured an increase in the number of recruiting agencies despatched to Ireland. The Irish-born population peaked at 51,406 on the cusp of the Long Depression in 1886, and would slowly decline thereafter as those with Irish ancestries gradually integrated into what would become pakeha society. The new Irish arrivals of the 1860s and 1870s were predominantly small farmers and rural labourers – men and women who had grown up in an agrarian society - as the historian Donald Akenson has noted. They also, for example, shifted the fulcrum of the Irish presence to the South Island. To Canterbury, where Irish men fulfilled the same role as the Irish Navvies of the United States in building the roads, bridges and railways of the rapidly expanding province, and where Irish women were often engaged as domestic servants. On the West Coast, towns like Hokitika, a booming gold rush town, developed, for a time, a distinctive Irish identity, with pubs and taverns named after familiar Irish heroes and patriots. The Irish arrivals participated too, with other migrants who came to this land, in the creation of that ‘laboratory of social experiment’ for which the new democracy of New Zealand would become noted. If there was a distinctive Irish contribution to a country famed for its progressive legislation, it was perhaps a certain sense of a recoil, an ambition to transcend, from what was perceived to be an oppressive colonial mindset. This was deeply understandable given the Irish experience of the effects of oppression and injustice, of opportunity foreclosed by cultural assumptions as to their inferiority, exclusion on religious grounds, and an unjust political economy. They were, however, perhaps moved too by an impulse to imagine a new world that could be created, with freer institutional possibilities in the southern oceans. In the imperial world of the nineteenth century, this was demonstrated by an unusual parallel, indeed a contradiction, as the matter of land reform and land redistribution in New Zealand became inextricably linked, in the eyes of the colonists, with the importance of learning from the failures of landlordism in Ireland. In 1881, Robert Stout, a Scottish immigrant born on the Shetland Islands and a future Premier, published The Irish Question and its Lessons for Colonists, advocating the use of the then novel land tax as a mechanism to provide land to the small proprietor and prevent New Zealand from becoming an Antipodean replica of the Irish social structure, a country of great landed estates and numerous toiling tenant farmers, and an expanding, grinding poverty. In the same year, 1881, John Ballance, the eldest son of an Irish tenant farmer and another future premier, attended a mass meeting in Wellington in support of the Irish National Land League, which had been established in Ireland three years earlier to ensure, in the words of its founding resolutions, ‘the obtaining of the ownership of the soil by the occupiers’. When the leader of the Irish National Land League, Michael Davitt, toured New Zealand in 1896, he found here a reflection of what he felt were the most advanced ideas of his age, many which he had advocated in Ireland: a progressive land tax, land redistribution, a determination to ensure that older people were ensured an income in old age, a faith in the pursuit of the public good, and legislation to ensure labour secured a fairer share of proceeds of growth. He saw it as a recognition and vindication of a public world that was possible, uniting the efforts of land and labour. He attributed these policies, he saw as successful, to the influence of Ballance and his lieutenant, John MacKenzie, who of course had witnessed the Highland clearances as a young boy. Davitt wrote of 19
“an Irish Premier of New Zealand, aided chiefly by a Celtic Highlander - both of whom knew something of Irish and Scottish landlordism - instrumental a few years ago in moulding the present land laws of the colony on the broad, just and rational principle of ‘the land of a country for the people of the country, and not for any class’”. We are reminded by such words that it is impossible to ignore the role that ‘the clearances’, ‘the enclosures’ had in creating the huge numbers of vagrants whose crimes would be used to fill the colonies with those transported in humiliating and degrading conditions. As to dispossession in the country he was visiting, Michael Davitt would also write of the ‘Māori Land Leaguers’ and of Te Whiti, and of how they, as he put it, ‘were beaten by overwhelming forces, but the principle underlying their brave struggle was not crushed’. If Ireland demonstrated to New Zealanders an imposed destiny that was to be averted, for Irish observers such as Davitt, New Zealand in its turn showed, by its willingness to experiment, to engage in quite new forms of thought and action, and to challenge and overturn the failing orthodoxies of the old world, an alternative pathway to the future. According parity of esteem, going beyond simply recognizing differences of culture, is a real achievement, to be celebrated in the political space. Such values and impulses are surely needed now more than ever. We need at a global, national, and international level, a morally informed sense of the importance of human dignity, a scholarship that is able to absorb the impulses of the human street and the human spirit. Good scholarship is inclusive scholarship. We need to reframe economics, as political economy, in such a fashion as will generate responsible, transparent, responsible policy formation with the capacity to reconnect with our publics. There is much that we in Ireland can continue to learn from New Zealand, and perhaps much we may learn anew and re-discover together, as we face the great challenges of coming decades, from which we must not shirk our responsibilities: the urgency for just and sustainable development; the necessity to address the causes and consequences of climate change; the resolution of conflicts; both ancient and new; the imperative to welcome those fleeing war, persecution and famine; the ever-present threat of nuclear weapons; and growing inequalities in wealth, income and opportunity. For citizens of Ireland and citizens of New Zealand, given our shared characteristics and our shared values, I believe there is so much we can continue to achieve together. We are both small countries who value our democratic traditions and who are authentic in our commitment to international institutions – a commitment expressed best, perhaps, by our shared abhorrence of the threat posed by nuclear weapons. It was the Irish representative at the General Assembly of the United Nations who first proposed, in 1959, a resolution that would lead to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which has been, from 1968 up to this year, the primary international legal instrument designed to prevent the dissemination of nuclear weapons and to achieve their disarmament. The virtues required for this achievement were tact, tenacity, and a quiet and stubborn persistence. As we look forward, what a great gift to humanity and to present and future generations it would be if, as was originally committed, a reduction in nuclear missiles and their eventual elimination was achieved. New Zealanders can be proud too of those virtues of a steadfast and courageous kind that were required to refuse the presence of the USS Buchanan and secure New Zealand’s status as a nuclear-free nation – namely 20
courage and bravery in the face of the oblique and sometimes the open hostility of the two nuclear-armed states of the day. Fortitude was needed and was shown. Fortitude is surely the word that comes to mind, when one thinks, and recalls, the shocking bombing, in July 1985, of the Rainbow Warrior not far from here in Auckland Harbour. I think that many small nations, in the face of such intimidation might have sought a discrete compromise. It is rare in international relations to find such an inspiring display of moral clarity. In June of this year, our two countries, in co-operation with many others, co-sponsored the General Assembly Resolution mandating the convention of a new United Nations conference to negotiate a new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This Treaty, adopted in June and opened for formal signature last month, prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. It represents the most widespread acceptance of the threat to humanity posed by nuclear weapons. Some have decried this recent Treaty, signed by so many members of the United Nations, as being without merit. They have suggested that it lacks force because it does not carry the approval of those who insist on continuing to possess nuclear weapons. Let us be clear as to what these critics are suggesting. It is no more and no less than claiming the right to hold what is a veto for the existing nuclear-armed states on policymaking in this area. Such a view simply echoes the abuse of veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations. Our mutual faith and trust in multilateral institutions and co-operation between nation-states also finds expression in our long-standing commitment to the contribution of personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Indeed, may I suggest that the principles that have underpinned peacekeeping for six decades – the requirement for the consent of the main parties to the conflict, to implement the United Nations mandate without fear or favour, and the non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate – are more apposite to the sensibility of smaller nations such as ours.
President Higgins delivering the keynote address at the University of Auckland 21
As to some current challenges, our two island nations have been endowed by nature with a temperate climate, enabling a kind of pastoral agriculture that is to some degree a product of path dependency, reflecting our history as suppliers of primary products to Britain. The entry of Britain and Ireland into the European Economic Community and its common agricultural policy was a significant change for both of us, with differing consequences. The structure and success of our agricultural industries brings with it a unique challenge for both our countries in the battle against climate change. Agriculture accounts for nearly a third of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, and I understand somewhat more here in New Zealand, which makes both of us outliers when compared to the other industrialised countries who participated in the first commitment period under the Kyoto protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We have both adopted emissions trading schemes as a policy measure to reduce fossil fuel emissions. These schemes exclude the emissions generated by pastoral farming, which due to our unique emissions profile, will require distinctive, novel, and sometimes difficult policy measures to be directed to dairy and beef farming, even as the temptation is now to increase our national herds to meet rising world demand. We should not, and must not, underestimate the depth or nature of this task. The recalibration of our agricultural industry to meet obligations we have accepted by international treaty is an obligation we must, and which we can meet. We can enlist the benefits of science and technology, but it will also require being resolute in the tough decisions we may need to take, and for which we must educate our publics. The agreement signed at the Paris Climate Conference in the December of 2015 was an enormous achievement, representing an important moral milestone, as imperfect as it may be, in recognising the demands of climate justice, and what is the imperative for survival for so many people in this century, particularly in the developing world. The decarbonisation of our societies demanded by the pledge to pursue efforts to limit the global temperature increase to one and a half degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will not be easy, nor can it be made without sacrifice. It will require the mobilisation of all members of our society engaged in the production, distribution, consumption and exchange of agricultural products to ensure that our countries can contribute to the effort truly required under the Paris climate accord. It will require new ideas, skills and methods, the opening of new frontiers of science and technology, a renewed commitment to the exchange of technical expertise, and, may I suggest, the recollection too of the wisdom of ancient methods, balances and symmetries of ecological management. The agreement of the Sustainable Development Goals in New York in September of 2015, constitutes what has the potential to be as important an achievement as the Paris climate accord. Over 193 states resolved to end poverty and hunger, combat inequalities in income and opportunity, to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies, and to create conditions for a shared prosperity. We must not be dislodged or dissuaded from these objectives by any nation, no matter how powerful, that seek to eschew the global common good in the service of narrow sectional interests. Tomorrow, I will have the great honour to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. I could not help but be put in mind of our own Good Friday Agreement in Ireland, the cornerstone of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. In both cases, it is when we see these treaties as ‘living treaties’ as processes towards the achievement of a shared dignity of recognized difference that they can deliver most for us.
The suggestion that indivisibility may not be the defining characteristic of sovereignty imagined by Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin, but that sovereignty may be, instead, a matter of perpetual renegotiation and debate, something shared, carried out in a democratic, respectful and inclusive spirit, is both profound and liberating, especially when it is imagined in practice. The complex and intricate relationships between peoples embodied in these respective agreements require a constant commitment to ensure that they remain living documents capable of achieving the full promise of their possibilities. Both our nations are small open economies, highly open to world markets, yet also, because of that very openness, vulnerable to changes to international commodity prices, the structure of global value chains, and sudden shifts and shocks to capital and financial flows. The forms of both capital and the nature of their flows have changed radically in the most recent decades of de-regulation. They have created what I suggest is a dystopia. These economic forces are not natural phenomena nor are they inevitabilities - they are the product of negotiated institutional design and public policy. Concerted action by states acting in co-operation with each other can, as it has in the past, constrain, control and bind such forces in service of the common good. This requires regulation. It is in the capital flows that are outside regulation, that are not, and never were, available for productive use, that the greatest uncertainties in global conditions, for economies large and small, are sowed. The economics of the future will inevitably deal with the challenges of building social cohesion. More equal societies are healthier societies. Societies with deep inequalities are not viable in terms of a stable, cohesive citizenship. Wild capital can yield short-term benefits for the few but be destructive for the many. The forms of capital which prevail within an economy are not the same as each other in terms of consequences. We need to privilege productive capital flows that lead to investment strategies that are socially accountable, job-creating, and sustainable. This requires allowing economies, and the societies which they serve, to level up to, and may I repeat, to reject the suggestion that there is anything inevitable about a dominating hegemon in terms of international trade. This has been manifested most recently in the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to which New Zealand has already subscribed and of which Ireland is now a member. If these measures are to be at their best, such institutions must channel flows of capital that will enhance the long-run economic growth potential of developing countries and finance sustainable, and sustained, development. And yet, in this, the tenth year since the Global Financial Crisis, the broader international financial architecture has yielded only most painfully and gradually to change. We should question whether the institutions charged with regulating global flows of capital and finance have the sufficient resources, the appropriate capacity, and, most importantly, the agreed mandate, necessary to achieve the economic and social objectives to which we are committed. There have been small, revelatory but welcome changes in the advice of the International Monetary Fund on matters of fiscal policy and the control of movements of capital, and the report of the Commission on Global Poverty established by the World Bank, which recommended broadening the conception of poverty to include non-monetary measures of deprivation. We must ask, as many in the global street are ever more vociferously asking, and most painfully experiencing, as to whether some of the ideas which led to the Global Financial Crisis still underpin global policy? Those who still believe that private financial markets will allocate resources to their best, most efficient use, and must 23
be allowed to do so without regulation have not gone away. Taking into account the necessity for sustainable and just development, we may well ask on behalf of whose and which interests do they speak and act? May I suggest that the great matters before us in the coming decade cannot be met with the ideas or assumptions of what are the failing and failed paradigms of a less than democratic, often authoritarian, frequently patriarchal, past. Our new challenges, in new circumstances, must be addressed, drawing on the best of the new morally-engaged scholarship that values social cohesion. This is something we must pursue collectively at a global level, with the same vigour and spirit with which our two countries have addressed the threat of nuclear Armageddon. Can we, in these difficult times, summon again the same openness to new ideas and willingness to break with old orthodoxies that Michael Davitt found here in this country a century ago? Can we bring the same determination to share, to debate, to contest, and to constantly renegotiate sovereignty in a democratic manner shown by the peoples of Ireland and New Zealand have shown in these recent years? Can we bring the same moral clarity and ethical vision, the same courage and fortitude, the same willingness to confront unaccountable power that has been shown by the peoples of this country in declaring and enforcing a nuclear free-zone? How we answer such questions will determine whether we can confront and overcome the challenges of this new century. It is essential that we retain our optimism, our will, but a good beginning might be to combine our efforts in achieving for our peoples a new literacy on economic and fiscal matters. This brings me back to my first paper in New Zealand in 1999 which was to a conference debating how we might, by defending public service broadcasting, secure and deepen the public world. That struggle continues in new conditions. We must not merely hope. We must imagine, we must change and we must achieve. Go raibh míle maith agaibh as bhur bhfoighne. Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann is mian liom gach rath agus beannacht a ghuí oraibh don todhchaí. Go dté sibh slán.
Remarks by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland
Waitangi Treaty Ground Tau Henare Drive, Meeting House Saturday, 28th October, 2017
Is pribhléid speisialta é dom féin agus do Saidhbhín, mar aon leo siúd ar fad atá ag taisteal linn, a bheith anseo libh ar maidin. Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann agus mar an chéad Cheann Stáit ón iasacht le cuairt a thabhairt ar Shuíomh Chonradh Waitangi, is mian liom a rá gur ócáid thochtmhar í seo dom. Is comhartha aitheantais í mo chuairt ar an suíomh seo don suntas eisceachtúil a bhaineann leis an talamh seo don phobal Maorach agus thar ceann mhuintir na hÉireann is mian liom ár n-ómós a thaispeáint daoibhse, do bhur sinsir, do bhur ndaoine agus do bhur gcultúr, agus is é mo ghuí é go mbeidh síocháin agus suaimhneas in ann daoibh san am amach romhainn.
[It is a special privilege for Sabina and I, and those travelling with us, to join you here this morning. As President of Ireland, and the first foreign Head of State to visit the Waitangi Treaty Ground, I am very moved. My visit to this site is an acknowledgement of the exceptional significance of this land for the Maori community and I bring to you the assurance of the respect of the Irish people whom I represent on this State Visit to New Zealand for your ancestors, your people, your culture and may your future be of peace and harmony with all of life.]
Reception for the Irish Community and Business Contacts
Speech by Michael D. Higgins President of Ireland
Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Sunday, 29th October, 2017
A Chairde Gael, a Dhaoine Uaisle, Ar an gcéad sul síos is mian liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil libh ar fad as an fíorchaoin fáilte a d’fhear sibh romham féin agus Saidhbhín inniu. Go riabh míle maith agaibh. Ambassador, Honorary Consul McMahon, Professor Gaimster, thank you for making the arrangements for this afternoon’s reception to be held here at such a prestigious venue, the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Sabina and I are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome so many members of the Irish community and those promoting business links between our two countries as we prepare to leave New Zealand later this evening. Thank you for your very warm welcome. We need only glance at our surroundings to understand the importance of heritage and memory in New Zealand. There are a number of remarkable exhibitions in this museum, including one on the Treaty of Waitangi, which we were fortunate to have the opportunity to learn more about yesterday, when we visited the Waitangi Museum and the previous day at the He Tohu exhibition at the National Library. This is of course a War Memorial Museum and if future generations are to benefit from learning from the mistakes of the past, then it is vital that we seek to recall the horror from the accounts of those who experienced it. We do this while remembering the personal bravery of the people who fought, suffered and died. Many Irish citizens fought either as members of the ANZAC forces or alongside them, including at Gallipoli. It is important not to let the memory of such horrors fade.
President Higgins and Sabina with Minister Charles Flanagan at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, at a reception hosted by the Chargé d’ Affaires of Ireland to New Zealand 28
May I thank those who provided us with the poe-feer-ee - it is the most authentic form of welcome. The Maori culture is an important part of New Zealand’s national tapestry and being given the opportunity to engage with a small part of it is a wonderful experience. On my last visit to New Zealand in 1999, speaking at a symposium about the connection between culture, democracy and public service I said: “the more unified and homogenised our political structures become, the more people will turn to indigenous cultures for an expression of themselves. We live by stories and the principles by which stories are selected, the skills with which they are told, and their resonance or otherwise in our own culture is a fundamental democratic concern.” In the world we live in today, with a myriad of global challenges that will affect the future of the planet we live on, indigenous cultures take on an ever-increasing importance as we strive to reconcile the everyday conflicts of ethics, economy, ecology and human rights. The Irish nation stretches far beyond the boundaries of our small, island state and one of the great pleasures of our visits abroad are the opportunities Sabina and I get to visit and meet with representatives of the vibrant and diverse Irish community organisations that exist right across the globe. The prominence of the Irish community in New Zealand is of great interest to those of us gathered here today. May I take this opportunity to thank the people of New Zealand for the welcome they have extended to the thousands of Irish people who have made this country their home over the past few centuries. The people of Ireland take great pride in the contribution that many of these new arrivals have made to New Zealand. Among the early contributions was that of Irishman John Robert Godley who founded Christchurch and Irishman William Hobson who played a key role in the Treaty of Waitangi negotiations. We Irish continue to take a keen interest in New Zealand today. With approximately one in six New Zealanders claiming Irish ancestry, our histories are very much intertwined. I hope that our countries will be equally close into the future as Irish people continue to visit, study, work and settle here. May I also thank those here who work to promote greater awareness of the historic and cultural links between Ireland and New Zealand, as well as those encouraging and facilitating potential business and trading opportunities. It is important to us both to remember and celebrate our shared history, even as we look to the promise of the future and as one of the means of giving voice to those cultural links, I hope that you all enjoyed the cultural performance here this evening. Despite the great distance between our two countries, I suggest that we are anything but strangers. We are both small countries, proud of our democratic traditions and our commitment to international institutions – a commitment expressed best, perhaps, by our shared abhorrence of the threat posed of nuclear weapons and we have been partners with great effect within the multilateral system. Given our shared characteristics and our shared values, I believe there is much we can continue to achieve together. Irish citizens have been in New Zealand since the early days of European settlement here and they continue to come here today to seek out new opportunities. We have also welcomed many New Zealanders to Ireland, particularly tourists and the young people able to avail of the Working Holiday Visa programme, which offers them a fantastic opportunity to really experience Irish life and thinking and see how much we have in common. I hope many more New Zealanders continue to visit us in future.
President Higgins speaking at a reception for the Irish community in Auckland
New Zealand is also an important and growing trade partner for Ireland, particularly in a post-Brexit environment. We can become, for example an even more important bridge to the more than 500 million people who are fellow members of the European Union. There are lots of opportunities for New Zealand companies in Ireland. Likewise, New Zealand is an increasingly important market for Irish companies both in its own right and as a base for the Asia Pacific region. Following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, we in Ireland recognise the importance of expanding and deepening our international trading relationships in the 21st century. Almost nine out of ten Irish companies plan to extend into new international markets over the next twelve months. Agriculture, agri-business and agri-technology are of course of great importance to both the Irish and New Zealand economies. I was very pleased that New Zealand Trade and Enterprise had a stand at this year’s Ploughing Championships in Tullamore. Enterprise Ireland has been a regular at the Fieldays in Hamilton for over a decade. At my meeting with the Governor General earlier this week, I was very pleased to announce the Irish Government’s decision to open an embassy in New Zealand, which will deepen our friendship, strengthen our cooperation and further develop our trade and economic links. New Zealand’s recent decision that it will open a resident Embassy in Dublin in the near future is also an indication of the strength of our relationship. I know that a love of sport is also something the people of Ireland and New Zealand have in common. This summer, Ireland was thrilled to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Some of you may have enjoyed divided loyalties on that occasion? The Black Ferns of New Zealand, of course, brought the trophy home, an indication of the strength of the game in this country. [New Zealand beat England 41-32 to win the Cup.] 30
Ireland is now bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. A few weeks ago, a crowd of 82,000 filled Croke Park for the All-Ireland Football Final. I’m looking forward to seeing the same ground filled with 82,000 rugby fans for a World Cup final, when maybe Ireland can meet the All Blacks. After many years of effort and heartbreak, Ireland finally managed to beat the All-Blacks in Chicago earlier this year and we very much look forward to resuming this contest in the future. New Zealand has been good enough to offer new opportunities and a new life to many Irish people for generations. The Irish who came here brought with them their strength, determination, creativity, ambition and resolve to build successful lives and a thriving society. As part of our Diaspora, they have of course also contributed to the development of Ireland. Having travelled all over Ireland and met with representatives of Irish communities worldwide, I can assure you that Ireland really does cherish its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad, as stated in our Constitution. It is a special privilege for Sabina and I to be here with you this evening to celebrate that affinity, to pay tribute to the work of Irish citizens in New Zealand and the many links that have been forged between the Irish and New Zealanders in history, culture, diplomacy and trade. Mar fhocal scoir, is mian liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil libh arís as an fáilte a d’fhear sibh romhainn inniu, agus gach rath agus beannacht a ghuí oraibh don todhchaí. Slán agus beannacht.
Áras an Uachtaráin, D08 E1W3 www.president.ie @PresidentIRL