Dame Catherine Tizard was New Zealand's first female Governor-General. The only child of Scottish immigrants, she was born Catherine Anne Maclean on April 4, 1931, in Auckland.
She went to Auckland University in 1949. It was there she met Bob Tizard and the two were married in 1951. The couple had four children but eventually separated.
Dame Catherine's first administrative role came when she joined the Play Centre Committee of which she later became president. She was then elected to the Board of Governors of the Eastern Suburbs Secondary Schools.
In 1961, she returned to university to finish a degree in zoology. In 1962 she became a part-time tutor for the Zoology Department and this eventually became a tenured appointment. She was elected to the Auckland City Council in 1971 and remained a city councillor for 12 years while working at Auckland University. In 1983, she was elected Mayor of Auckland, the first woman to hold that position. She remained in the job until 1990 when she was appointed Governor-General, a position she held until 1996.
Dame Catherine has been involved in numerous community groups including the Historic Places Trust, the Marriage Guidance Council, the Auckland Institute and Museum, the Auckland Theatre Trust and the Auckland Maritime Museum Trust.
Dame Catherine was awarded a DBE in 1985 and received a GCMG in 1990. In 2002, she was made a member of the Order of New Zealand.