Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Geneva Ball
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, Hon Jenny Salesa, Kerre McIvor, Niva Retimanu and Government VIPs all helped light up the night at the annual Geneva Healthcare Ball for people with disabilities. This year's 'Dance of Nations' themed Ball was one of the biggest yet with over 250 people from all over New Zealand celebrating diversity, culture and inclusion at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland City.
Ms Ardern astounded everyone at the Ball by arriving unexpectedly - talking to as many people as she could, she posed for photos and addressed the crowd with an impromptu speech to kick-start the event after the Karakia. Thanking Geneva's Clients who put together a personalised video invite, Ms Ardern recalled how it brought her to tears and that she just needed to be a part of the event, even if it was only a fleeting appearance.
This night is for all of you to celebrate your vibrant culture, all your amazing achievements, and the things that make us all unique,
says Veronica Manion, Geneva Healthcare Chief Executive. The cultures that make our country great were honoured in various ways - from a dance medley by Geneva staff featuring Pasifika, Indian, European and to Maori Poi; a Haka; Client videos demonstrating how they celebrate their culture in Aotearoa, to a buffet banquet of dishes inspired by India, Aotearoa, Asia, Pacific Islands, France, Italy and the list goes on. Hon Jenny Salesa, Associate Minister of Health and Minister of Ethnic Communities, was wowed by the dancing prowess of Geneva's own staff in the dance medley.
I was told that they are all [Geneva] staff. I thought you had hired people in to come and dance tonight! My gosh, you are so talented, and you all look so fabulous, she adds.