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Tauranga Candlelight Memorial Service

Message from the Governor-General

Tena koutou katoa

My warmest welcome to everyone gathered here and throughout New Zealand for the Candlelight Memorial Services.

Tonight is a special night. It is a time for us to remember those New Zealanders who have lost their lives to AIDS since the first death in 1985.

It is also a time for our country to reflect on the threat this virus continues to pose.

AIDS has been a reality for New Zealand for many years now. It is much better understood than in the first frightening years of its discovery.

However, we are still at war with an epidemic for which we are yet to develop a cure.

As our knowledge and understanding of AIDS grows, so does the toll this virus takes on human life, both in New Zealand and around the world.

Just last year, new diagnoses in NZ reached an all-time high. This is an avoidable tragedy not just for those New Zealanders who contracted the virus, but for their families and friends too.

That is why the work of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation is so important. We cannot ignore AIDS. On-going education is critical, as is support for those who deal with the every-day reality of AIDS.

Thank you to all who are here tonight. Your determination to stop this virus honours those who have lost their lives and their loved ones to AIDS.

Tena koutou katoa

Silvia Cartwright
Patron of the New Zealand Aids Foundation


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