The Governor-General’s Roles

Sir Jerry and Lady Janine Mateparae
 
Their Excellencies attend hundreds of functions throughout New Zealand each year.

The Governor-General has a number of overlapping roles-the constitutional, the ceremonial, the international, and the community leadership roles.

Constitutional:

The Governor-General's constitutional role is to maintain the legitimacy and continuity of government by ensuring there is always a government in office with a democratic mandate to govern.   Legitimacy is the foundation of civil peace and the order that is maintained by the rule of law.

Some of the Governor-General's constitutional roles include signing the writ that dissolves Parliament before a general election is held, appointing the government after an election, and giving the Speech from the Throne at the State Opening of Parliament.

The Governor-General's formal title includes the phrase "Commander-in-Chief in and over New Zealand" but he or she does not play an active role in military matters.

Ceremonial:

The Governor-General represents the Queen and all New Zealanders at important public ceremonies, including Waitangi Day and Anzac Day commemorations.

The Governor-General also holds investiture ceremonies where New Zealand honours are conferred.  These ceremonies are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of New Zealanders in fields as diverse as sport, science, business, education, the law, and public and community service. 

International:

At the request of the Prime Minister, Governors-General represent New Zealand on the international stage - undertaking state visits to enhance relations between New Zealand and other countries as well as attending important ceremonies overseas.  The Governor-General also hosts formal State Welcome ceremonies for visiting Heads of State at Government House as well as receiving the credentials of foreign ambassadors and high commissioners to New Zealand.

Community Leadership:

The Governor-General provides non-partisan community leadership.  The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae are the patrons of many charitable, service, sporting, cultural and community organisations.  This follows the tradition of royal patronage established in the United Kingdom, although the practice of granting Royal Warrants and Royal Charters has not been continued in New Zealand.

Many of the Governor-General's community functions also have a ceremonial dimension, such as officially opening new buildings, schools and other facilities, addresses to open or close conferences, presenting awards, or launching special events and appeals.

The Governor-General's community role takes up a great deal of time.  During most years, the Governor-General will attend several hundred functions at Government House or throughout the country.   During regular regional visits, the Governor-General meets and talks with New Zealanders from all walks of life.

Tours of Government House Wellington for the public, schools and community groups are being offered, starting in the New Visitor Centre.

Find out more.

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