It is a pleasure to be back in Palmerston North, the city of my birth. It is true to say that my family left Palmy reasonably soon thereafter, but there is no truth to the rumour that as a 16 month old I went to my mother to request a transfer!
Coming to Palmerston North these days is to see a city and region that is bursting with potential. A strong university, science organisations to build on on the primary industry base, the potential for new and innovative businesses. Now, if we could just get a government that backs the regions!
Delegates, it is school prize giving season. For anyone cynical about future generations, attendance at these is a life-affirming experience. They are heart-warming celebrations of success, albeit a bit of a marathon for parents and unsuspecting MPs.
Success comes in many forms at these prizegivings. From the students winning subject prizes, to the awards for leadership, sporting and cultural achievements, to the students who have proudly made it through five years of school. All of them are celebrated, because as one principal put it to me, we don’t judge our success on the marks our dux gets, we judge our success on producing a cohort of confident, resilient young people.