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Winston Peters - "Out of Chaos Comes Order"

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
17 March 2006

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters at the opening of the Niue Hospital, Niue, Thursday 16 March 2006 at 2pm (Niue time)

"Out of Chaos Comes Order"

When Cyclone Heta hit Niue, the devastation was so complete that even the most basic infrastructure such as your hospital and roads were rendered unusable. Rebuilding after such a devastating event is not easy, but is even more difficult for a remote island such as yours. And yet set about rebuilding you did and you must be commended for your dedication to completing this difficult task.

We are here today to open the new Niue Hospital. It should be noted that a tremendous amount of work has been put into this hospital, both in New Zealand and here in Niue.

In many ways it stands as a symbol of the determination to rebuild and recover from Heta.

We must acknowledge the efforts of the hospital steering committee and the fantastic job it has done overseeing all this work. Your Minister of Health, Hon Fisa Pihigia, led this group most ably.

It is also appropriate to recognise the significant efforts of the doctors, nurses, the hospital administration and support staff who have, in the absence of a suitable hospital facility, still managed to provide medical services in difficult conditions.

Following the devastation of Heta, we must acknowledge the patience of the people of Niue as they waited for the hospital to reopen.

This hospital is something Niue and New Zealand can both be proud of. It is the flagship project of the Halavaka agreement and a major investment by NZAID.

Sitting under this physical structure is the strong partnership with the Counties Manukau District Health Board, and direct linkages into the New Zealand health system.

Premier Vivian has provided the strong leadership and vision Niue has needed to work through this period of reconstruction. The Premier and Prime Minister Helen Clark have ushered in a reinvigorated relationship under the Halavaka Agreement and this is to be applauded.

Together we have set a new course, with New Zealand and Niue paddling together. As politicians we know unfavourable tides mean sometimes we paddle a lot without reaching our destination. But today we have the opportunity to celebrate reaching a big milestone, literally and symbolically.

This project, and the restoration of adequate health services to Niue, has been of particular interest to Prime Minister Helen Clark. It is pleasing to be able to advise her that Niue now has a very fine hospital.

Finally, let us remember that the revitalisation of a culture is something to be treasured. The commissioning of Taoga Niue artwork for the hospital interior is fitting. It is and should remain a distinctly Niuean place and the artwork will serve as a symbol of a reinvigorated Niue.

It therefore gives me great pleasure to formally open the new Niue Hospital.


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