US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday paid tribute to the earthquake recovery effort in Christchurch.
Speaking to about 300 at the Christchurch Town Hall she said that kiwis had gone to the aid of so many others in need and shown “irresistible good cheer”.
They were shared attributes with the United States and New Zealand.
Canterbury university lecturer Therese Arseneau introduced Mrs Clinton as powerful role model for women, and Mrs Clinton greeted the crowd with a warm “kia ora”.
She praised the work of the Government, local authorities including police and the fire service for their work in clean up following the 7.1 earthquake that struck the region on September 4.
“It’s hard to imagine for someone like me coming in now that a quake of the magnitude of 7.1 could have hit just two months ago.”
She made a special mention for a group of Canterbury University students, whose Facebook page pulled in 1300 volunteers for a clean-up crew.
“For everyone here in Christchurch, the US sends its best wishes and let’s you know we’re very impressed by how this community responded and more than that I recognise that Kiwis comes to the aid of so many others when they’re in need including countries devastated by the [2004 Boxing Day tsunami and the Samoan tsunami last year].”
“Americans greatly admire your willingness to step up and do what is needed with resilience and irresistible good cheer.”
She repeated the goals of the Wellington Declaration, signed yesterday, and the new strategic partnership between New Zealand and the US.
“We have made a decision in the Obama Administration that we want to broaden and deepen our relationship and look for ways we can work together – from non-proliferation to the alleviation of poverty to women’s right to violent extremism.”
The declaration also declared the goal of promoting democratic institutions across the Pacific, Mrs Clinton said.
“We do not agree on every issue – I don’t know two countries that do, and I don’t know two people that do – and nuclear issues have divided us.
“But we share a common goal – a world without nuclear weapons. President Obama has set that as a vision for the US. It may not happen in his lifetime or in yours, but it must remain a goal that we move slowly but surely towards.”
She said the US was trying to better understand New Zealand and young New Zealanders.
“It will not surprise you to hear that New Zealand is highly admired by Americans who are intrigued by what you have built here, who are trying to understand rugby and the great attraction that it holds, and are very committed to learning more about New Zealand.”
Image – Hillary Clinton and John Key during their joint press conference. Photo / Mark Mitchell, NZHerald.co.nz