New Zealanders need to encourage pride in all that we do and recognise and reward people who do well, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today at the inaugural JADE Excellence in Education Awards organised by Canterbury Education Services.
"Recognition and promotion of excellence is a fundamental principle of success.
"When someone does something well, it is important to recognise his or her achievement in some way, no matter how small.
"A pat on the back or a positive comment for a job well done, goes a long way to setting someone up for success. We need to let them know they are heroes. They are builders, not wreckers. They are making a contribution and they are valuable. Writing their story for others to share can also be a very positive thing.
"I get so frustrated that we accentuate the negative, and all but ignore the positive. It is creating a perception that we are a failure and that we live in an unsafe and undesirable community. Neither could be further from the truth.
"It's time we focussed on the positive and encouraged our achievers.
"The best athletes, the best business people, the best schools, the best teachers, the best students, all need encouragement. In fact, most of us thrive on encouragement and recognition.
"Money is not always the main motivating factor for people, it's often recognition.
"People want to know that they are valued. They want to know when they are doing well. They want to know that their work counts.
"The human spirit is uplifted when we acknowledge achievement. This can become contagious and invariably success breeds success. My hope for New Zealand is that we can gain in our confidence in doing just that.
"New Zealanders are calling out for an opportunity to share in the pride that those who have experienced success enjoy."
Mrs Shipley congratulated Canterbury Education Services Chairman Rodger McHarg, and JADE Chief Executive Gil Simpson for putting the awards together to recognise excellence in Canterbury schools.
"Your approach to supporting Canterbury schools is a shinning example of what business and education can achieve by working together to create a bright future. If we begin with our children, perhaps they will carry this positive approach into adulthood.
"These awards will help improve our schools and the education of Canterbury students. I hope they will become contagious and help change our outlook as a people, as we have so much to be proud of," Mrs Shipley said.