Been thinking about the leaving speech…

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Well being a digital native it is natural that I should record my leaving speech in the ether. Actually I have three leaving speeches to make. The first in Wellington, the second to my lovely staff in Auckland and the last to my wonderful team in Christchurch. All over the next few weeks.

How does one go about summing up 26 years in a brief speech? All the thank you’s and the witty anecdotes all crammed into a brief moment of time. I must confess that for a fellow known for his verbosity I am struggling.

I do know that I want to leave my colleagues with a real sense that I am so very grateful to them for the opportunities I have been afforded over my career. I want to thank them for the care they have shown me personally at the difficult times; the deaths of my father (1996) my mother (2010), the loss of our first child, the illnesses, the family dramas (children falling from trees and breaking arms etc) and those sodding awful earthquakes.

I want to thank them for sharing the good times! My wedding (1989), the birth of my three daughters (1996, 1998 and 2006), celebrating with me my university achievements (1998 + 2005) and the numerous awards, achievements and milestones within the office itself.

I want to affirm the wonderful work they have done for so long and with such generosity. I want to remind them that they are simply and outstanding group of people, they are so far from the mold of traditional public servants that I struggle to recognise the stereotype. They are innovative, focused on helping their clients and so very kind to one another.

I want to thank them for the laughs – I once received feedback through some formal assessment tool from one of my direct reports that read “Life is not all stand up comedy” – I take it I must have annoyed said report at some point. I loved the feedback though ‘cos I think life is hilarious. And had it not been for the laughs I would have left a very long time ago.

I want to assure them that I shall miss them all dearly. My move is not because I don’t believe in what we are all doing but rather it is a personal desire on my part for a change. I will miss them.

I want to acknowledge that I have worked with some truly wonderful people and with some absolute tossers, thankfully the tossers never seem to last in my organisation.

I will recount that great line from Lord of the Rings where Bilbo Baggins’ remarks at his 111 birthday ‘I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve” This is particularly true of the Southern Business Centre as there are so many new faces about at the present.

I want to exhort them to keep on the great work. To do ever more to make New Zealand a great place to do business, to be innovative and optimistic, to seize the opportunities to use technology to deliver clever service to business.

I want to say thanks and have them know that I really mean it.

But I’ll probably just waffle on a bit and then thank them all for popping in….


  1. Lovely speech Justin, you really are an inspiration, one that has left a great legacy – you will be sadly missed. But congratulations on a positive change – we wish you all the best!

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