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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Our Lady's Home of Compassion - visit and QSM presentation

    Today Dame Patsy visited Our Lady's Home of Compassion in Island Bay to meet the sisters and posthumously present the Queen's Service medal awarded to the late Sr Catherine Hannan.

    Sister Catherine, a member of the Sisters of Compassion for 66 years and a dedicated advocate for human rights in New Zealand and overseas, passed away before she was able to attend an investiture ceremony. Her insignia was presented instead to Congregational Leader Sr Margaret Anne Mills and will be added to the substantial number of honours awarded to members of the Sisters of Compassion already held in the order's archives.

    Dame Patsy also toured the museum, the Suzanne Aubert Heritage Centre and the chapel - the final resting place of Sisters of Compassion founder Suzanne Aubert.

    Image of Sr Margaret Anne accepting Sr Catherine's QSM for the Sisters of Compassion archives

    Image of a photo album from a previous Governor-General visit - Lady Fergusson receives flowers

  • Investiture Wellington Tuesday 27 October 5pm

    This evening concluded the Queens Birthday honours list investiture ceremonies at Government House Wellington, where 13 recipients were presented with their insignia. Among them was Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts, recognised for her significant contributions to Māori wāhine and the community. Her extensive work in the health and education sector was acknowledged along with her contributions to the Māori Women’s Welfare League. Other recipients this evening include former Mayor of Whakatāne Tony Bonne and former Mayor of Central Otago Tony Lepper plus Helen Plume, who has contributed significantly to the global fight against climate change.

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    Image of Helen Plume, of Porirua, CNZM, for services to the environment


  • Investiture Ceremony 23 October 2020 PM

    Central Otago poet Dr Brian Turner, ONZM and former Silver Fern Joan Harnett-Kindley, ONZM were among the 12 investiture recipients this afternoon at Government House. Other recipients were Scilla Askew, ONZM for services to music; Dr Jeremy Hill, MNZM for services to the dairy industry and scientific research; Jenny Noble, MNZM for services to health, particularly research for rare diseases; Tofilau Bernadette Pereira, MNZM for services to the Pacific community and women; Robyn Bisset, QSM for services to the community; Chandhu Daji, QSM for services to the Indian community and sport; Bill Sharp, QSM for services to youth; Terence Tauira, QSM for services to the Pacific community; Marie Taylor, QSM for services to horticulture and native revegetation; and Jim Thomas, QSM for services to victim support and the community.

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    Dr Brian Turner, of Oturehua, ONZM for services to literature and poetry
    Mrs Joan Harnett-Kindley, of Wanaka, ONZM for services to netball and the real estate industry
  • Investiture Ceremony 23 October 2020 AM

    Another ten outstanding New Zealanders received their honour insignia from Dame Patsy this morning: Professor Richard Bedford, CNZM for services to governance; Steve Tew, ONZM for services to rugby and sports administration; Jackie Edmond, MNZM for services to sexual and reproductive health; Dr Janet Turnbull, MNZM for services to health; Angelica Edgley, MNZM (Honorary) for services to forensic science; Gillian Bishop, QSM for services to conservation; Dave Butler, QSM for services to conservation; Turangapito Parata, QSM for services to Maori, health and youth; Cushla Scrivens, QSM for services to historical research and heritage preservation; and Neil Taylor, QSM for services to people with intellectual disabilities and the community.

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  • Investiture Ceremony 22 October 2020 PM

    At this afternoon's investiture ceremony, insignia were presented to Helene Quilter, QSO for services to the State; Dr Garry Forgeson, ONZM for services to oncology; Tony Wilding, ONZM for services to the dairy industry and the community; David Crerar, MNZM for services to mountaineering and outdoor recreation; Billy Graham, MNZM for services to youth and the community; Dr Sarah Leberman, MNZM for services to women, sport and tertiary education; Don Mackay, MNZM for services to seniors and the community; Mary Thompson, MNZM for services to netball administration; Kayla Whitelock, MNZM for services to hockey; Ella Buchanan Hanify, QSM for services to music; Andrew John, QSM for services to conservation and education; Trevor McGlinchey, QSM for services to Maori and the community; and Terry Roche, QSM for services to the community.

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    Ms Helene Quilter, of Wellington, QSO for services to the State
  • Investiture Ceremony 22 October 2020 AM

    This morning's honour recipients were senior diplomat John McKinnon, CNZM; media educator Dr Brian Pauling, ONZM; pioneering aviator Rona Fraser MNZM; gerontologist Dr Sally Keeling, MNZM; publisher Don Long, MNZM; eminent weaver Veranoa Hetet, QSM; aviator John Lamont, QSM; Tongan community leader Kolovula Murphy, QSM; and women's advocate Barbara Thompson, QSM.

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    Veranoa Hetet, Dame Patsy Reddy

  • Investiture Ceremony 21 October 2020

    South Island rural communities were well represented in this morning's investiture ceremony for 12 honour recipients at Government House. Five volunteers from Fire and Emergency New Zealand received honours, and recipients were also acknowledged for their services to communities, interfaith communities, addiction support and treatment, health and cycling, wildlife conservation, sport and historical research, women, and football and historical research.

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    Mr David Zwartz, of Wellington, ONZM for services to the Jewish and interfaith communities
  • Investiture Ceremony, 20 October 2020

    Eleven outstanding New Zealanders received their insignia at this afternoon's investiture ceremony for honour recipients at Government House. They were recognised for tireless work in our communities and for their contributions to various sectors, including health, the cattle industry, horticulture, martial arts, motorsport, conservation, sport, and choral music. Pictured is Helen Heffernan, who received a CNZM for services to health.

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  • Investiture ceremony - Wellington 19 October, 5.00PM

    Ten more New Zealanders received their honours insignia at a ceremony at Government House in Wellington this afternoon.

    Trailblazing politician and LGBTIQA+ rights activist Georgina Beyer was recognised, alongside leading medical specialist Professor John Nacey and eight-times World Masters Triathlon Champion Dr John Hellemans. Congratulations to all recipients

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    Image4 of Ms Georgina Beyer, of Wellington,MNZM, for services to LGBTIQA+ rights

    Image of Professor John Nacey, of Wellington,CNZM, for services to health and education


  • Investiture Ceremony, Wellington 19 October 2020 1.00pm

    This afternoon marked the start of the Wellington ceremonies celebrating the Queen’s Birthday honour recipients, recognising some people doing amazing things for their community. Among them was former Police Commissioner Mike Bush and Bev May, who was the first woman to gain a cycling licence to compete against men.

    Bev May, Dame Patsy Reddy

    Dame Patsy also honoured new Knight Sir Robert Martin, who has done some outstanding work for the self-advocacy movement. Sir Robert was the first person with a learning disability elected onto a United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body, and is currently serving a four year term on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
    Congratulations to all 12 of our recipients for all they have done for their communities.

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    Sir Robert Martin, Dame Patsy Reddy


  • Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand conference

    This morning Dame Patsy opened the Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand's conference in Wellington. The Society has been a Governor-General patronage since it first started in 1931- Lord Bledisloe was a great supporter.

    After her speech, Dame Patsy was presented with a conference medal while she presented President David Galt with, what else, a Governor-General coin.

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    Image of Dame Patsy speaking at the Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand's conference opening

  • McCahon Centenary closing reception at Government House Auckland

    Just over a year ago at Government House Wellington, Dame Patsy opened the McCahon Centenary celebrations, and tonight Government House Auckland hosted a reception to bring it to a close.

    The McCahon Centenary has celebrated the works of Colin McCahon, and the legacy he has had on New Zealand art and culture.

    One of our most prominent artists, he began his 45 year career as a painter in the 1930s. He spent his early years in Dunedin, Nelson and Christchurch before moving to Auckland in the early 1950s. He is most known for painting abstract landscapes and works of painted text.

    The evening also featured a presentation from Hideaki Fukutake about the regeneration of a community through art, architecture and nature. Together with his father, Mr Fukutake operates the Benesse Art Site Naoshima in Japan. This comprises of three main islands that were previously polluted with from industrial waste and have been re-established as havens for art and architecture. Community buildings on the islands operate like museum galleries as its residents live alongside living art spaces.

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    Dame Patsy Reddy, Shinichi Hamada and Ian Kennedy

  • Graeme Dingle Foundation 25th Anniversary Excellence Awards 2020

    Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the Graeme Dingle Foundation Excellence Awards, where Dame Patsy presented the Sir Edmund Hillary Youth Achievement Award to Nicola Biss.

    The Excellence Awards recognised the work of some outstanding students, mentors and coordinators involved in Graeme Dingle Foundation youth development programmes in schools across the country. 

    It has been a challenging year for the students and mentors alike, but they managed to rise to the challenge and remain connected virtually to keep the programs running no matter what Covid alert level the country was in.

    This year is also the 25th anniversary of the foundation itself. Sir Graeme and Jo-anne gathered a group of notable New Zealanders at One Tree Hill, former Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves among them, to discuss their plan to help at-risk kids across the country through outdoor education, teaching resilience, respect and how to overcome lifes obstacles.

    Now, 25 years later the foundation has spread across the country and has seen almost 300 000 children go through the programme. 

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    Dame Patsy and Sir David with Sir Graeme Dingle and Jo-anne Wilkinson, Lady Dingle



  • New Zealand Olympic Women in Sport's Leadership Academy Graduation

    This afternoon, Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted the 2020 graduates of the New Zealand Olympic Women in Sports Leadership Academy. The academy was created in 2017 to encourage female athletes coming to the end of their competitive career to build on their knowledge and apply it to sports administration.

    Despite the growing popularity of women’s sport both in New Zealand and worldwide, there remains a gender disparity in sports administration. WSPA aims to encourage Olympians to develop their leadership skills and apply that to a career behind the scenes in sports. The end goal is to make sports more diverse and accessible to everyone.

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    Dame Patsy Reddy, Olympic Women In Sport Leadership Academy

  • Christchurch investitures

    Nine more New Zealanders were recognised for their acheivements at an investiture ceremony in Christchurch this morning. Former All Black Captain Kieran Read received the insignia of an ONZM at the ceremony which took place at the rebuilt and refurbished Christchurch Town Hall - a gem of 70s architecture.

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    Keepiong the sporting theme going, later that afternoon former International Olympic Committee member Barry Maister received the insignia of a CNZM, alongside others who have acheived in the world of nursing, Māori language education, choral music, horticulture and ploughing.

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  • Frances Clarke Memorial Awards 2020

    On the 8th of October, Dame Patsy held the 30th Frances Clarke Memorial Awards. The awards recognise great achievement in the Wellington Down Syndrome community, and this year the guest speaker was Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 

    The first winner of the morning was Ava Saba. From the Wairarapa, she is a keen dancer and has achieved level 4 highly commended in the Dance New Zealand Made Syllabus. Her favourite dance styles are jazz and hip hop. She recieves the award for the 16 and under category.

    Michael Holdsworth was the winner of the 16 and over category for his work with IHC and as a pianist. He is a mentor at the IHC library, and has played piano since he was a child. Michael has been on hand to play the piano at almost every Frances Clarke Memorial Award ceremony right back to the first one 30 years ago. 

    Finally the winner of the community category was Gordon Cumming. Gordon was recognised for his work mentoring Kapiti group The Independance Collective. This group of young entrepreneurs with intellectual disabilities, with the guidance of Gordon, have worked together to become their own boss and start a micro business selling their own brand of beer, Change Maker.

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    Heidi Jones, Dame Patsy Reddy



  • Farewell call from the Ambassador for the Argentine Republic

    This afternoon Dame Patsy and Sir David received a farewell call from Ambassador for the Argentine Republic, HE Fausto Lopez Crozet and wife Adriana Tabiera Britos.

  • NZ Police Wing 100 35-Year Long Service and Good Conduct Presentation

    Members of Wing 100, the Police Centennial Wing, received the 35 year clasp for their Long Service and Good Conduct medals at Government House in Wellington this afternoon.

    Wing 100 began their training in the NZ Police's centennial year and their graduation in February 1986 was attended by the Queen and Prince Philip. Around 20 or so of the original intake are still with the police and 19 were recognised for their long service today

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    Image of the 35 year long service clasp and pin recipients

    Image of the Wing 100 official photo from 1986

  • Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal Awards

    Recipients of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal were honoured at Government House Wellington this afternoon. These awards are given to those who demonstrate extraordinary acts of bravery when other lives are in danger.

    The Governor-General has been patron of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand since its inception in 1898, and has hosted ceremonies to award recipients ever since.

    Today’s recipients were Mr Heath Bagnall and Mr Matthew Rogatski, Mr Aaron Burgess, Mr Kostantinos Kothroulas, Mr Geoffrey Mathieson, Mr Cameron McCallum , Mr Jason Rewita and Mr Scott Quate. A heartfelt thank you to each outstanding recipient for their actions in a time of real crisis.   

    More photos and the citations of the recipients can be found here.

    Dame Patsy Reddy, Kostantinos Kothroulas

  • New Zealand, Australian and South Pacific Remembrance Day Service

    Today Dame Patsy attended a service at the Royal New Zealand Police College to mark New Zealand, Australian and South Pacific Rembrance Day. On this day, we remember the police officers who have been killed on duty, or who have lost their lives while on duty.

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    Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, Dame Patsy and Hon Stuart Nash
  • Investiture Ceremony 26 September 2020

    Our final ceremony in this month's round of investiture ceremonies in Auckland saw recognition for services to the music industry, engineering, mathematics education, people with disabilities, art education, youth, and services to Niuean art and the community. Recipients included a pioneer of New Zealand music journalism, Murray Cammick ONZM; engineer Terry Kayes ONZM; and expert in mathematics education, Dr Bobbie Hunter, MNZM.

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    Mr Murray Cammick, of Auckland, ONZM for services to the music industry
  • Investiture Ceremony 25 September 2020

    This morning six New Zealanders received their insignia for honours received this year. Services to health, the community, governance, people with disabilities, music education, surf life-saving and conservation were acknowledged. The recipients included Dr Dianne Webster, CNZM for services to health, particularly paedriatrics; Lisa Woolley, ONZM for services to the community and governance; and Susan Sherrard, MNZM for services to people with disabilities.

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    Dr Dianne Webster, of Auckland, CNZM for services to health, particularly paediatrics
  • Investiture Ceremony 24 September 2020 PM

    This afternoon seven Honour recipients were recognised for their contributions to education, services to health, the arts, hospitality, philanthropy, and their communities.

    They included the developer of the first teacher-training programme in Special Education, Maureen Corby, CNZM; midwife Vicki Masson, ONZM who has expertise in high-risk pregnancies; and Russell Burt, MNZM, who has initiated transformational education programmes in low-socioeconomic communities.

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    Mrs Maureen Corby, of Auckland, CNZM for services to early childhood education
  • Investiture Ceremony 24 September 2020 AM

    This morning's investiture ceremony acknowledged services to medicine and health, Maori and Pasifika, education, fashion, seniors, our communities and historical research and heritage preservation. The recipients included world-leading neonatologist Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding, DNZM; Invercargill surgeon George Ngaei, who received his CNZM for services to health and the Pacific community; and high-end fashion designer Kiri Nathan, MNZM.

    Dame Jane is pictured in a kakahu designed by Kiri Nathan for Government House. The kakahu  is worn by the recipients of a DNZM during investiture ceremonies.

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    Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding, of Auckland, DNZM for services to neonatology and perinatology
  • Investiture Ceremony 23 September 2020

    This morning's investiture acknowledged contributions to financial literacy, education, local government, wildlife conservation, publishing and literature, and recipients included author Dr Tessa Duder CNZM; financial literacy expert Mary Holm, ONZM; and whale expert Ramari Stewart, MNZM.

    Dr Tessa Duder, of Auckland, CNZM for services to literature
  • Investiture ceremony Auckland 22 September PM 2020

    Six recipients this afternoon were honoured at Government House Auckland for their contributions to arts, culture and their communities. Honoured this afternoon were Mr Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, CNZM, for services to Māori and heritage commemoration, Ms Judy Darragh, ONZM, for services to the arts, Dr Maureen Lander, MNZM, for services to Māori art, Mr Clint Baddeley, MNZM, for services to local government and the community, Afamasaga Agnes Rasmussen, QSM, for services to education and the Pacific community and Mr Afiff Shah, QSM, for services to the Muslim community and football.

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    Dr Maureen Lander, of Whangamata, MNZM for services to Māori art



  • Investiture ceremony, Auckland 22 September AM 2020

    Services to education, poetry and refugees were some of the fields recognised this morning at Government House Auckland. Recipients included a leading Māori educator and a former New Zealand Poet Laureate. Recipients were Dr Cilla McQueen, MNZM, for services as a poet, Mrs Priscilla Dawson, QSM, for services to refugees and the Burmese community, Mr Rex Crowther, ONZM, for services to the motor vehicle industry and Mrs Ngareta Timutimu, MNZM, for services to Māori and education.

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    Dr Cilla McQueen, of Bluff, MNZM for services as a poet



  • Investiture ceremony, Auckland 21 September PM 2020

    This afternoon Government House Auckland welcomed recipients being recognised for services in hockey, police, education and the community. Recipients this afternoon were Mrs Carrol Elliott, of Auckland, for services to nursing and the community, Mr Lehi Hohaia, of Rotorua, for services to the New Zealand Police and Māori, Mrs Gayle Marshall, of Auckland, for services to the community, Ms Barbara Ala’alatoa, of Auckland, for services to education, Mr Neil McCorkindale, of Auckland, for services to hockey administration and Mr Michael Chopping, of Auckland, for services to the electrical industry.

    Mr Lehi Hohaia, of Rotorua, QSM for services to the New Zealand Police and Māori


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    As well as changing up the way the ceremonies were held to reflect current level 2.5 restrictions, there was a new twist to food service. Recipients and their guests were treated to afternoon tea to go, with a box of sweets, savouries and a cold beverage perfect for the sunny weather.

    A bagel and a croissant



  • Investiture Ceremony, 21 September 2020 AM

    This morning's investiture ceremonies at Government House Auckland featured a new format in light of the current rules around the size of gatherings and social distancing. Each recipient, accompanied by their guests attended a private ceremony, where the Governor-General presented them with their insignia. This morning's recipients were Rachael Le Mesurier, CNZM for services to governance and the community; James Griffin, ONZM for services to the television and film industries; Penny Hulse, MNZM for services to local government; Aseta Redican, MNZM for services to health and Pacific peoples; Bevan Bradding and Margaret Bradding, QSM for services to the community; and Morris McFall, QSM for services to the community and philanthropy.

    Mrs Aseta Redican, of Auckland, MNZM for services to health and Pacific peoples

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    Ms Rachael Le Mesurier, of Auckland, CNZM for services to governance, the community and health
  • From the archives: An invitation to a showcase of the King George VI needlepoint chairs

    Some of the most popular items in Government House Wellington are the needlepoint chairs surrounding the dining table in the Norrie room. Each chair represents some of the major towns in New Zealand, with the four main cities represented on carver chairs.

    Needlepoint chairs Government House Wellington
    The project that led to their creation was one of the many plans initiated in 1951 by Lady Barbara Freyberg, wife of Governor-General Lt Gen Bernard Freyberg, to celebrate the upcoming Royal visit of King George VI. Together with esteemed Wellington tapestry worker Mrs A. L. B. Nairn, Lady Freyberg sent letters to Mayoresses of 38 major New Zealand towns and cities asking each to find experts to contribute to a needlepoint design of their respective location’s coat of arms.

    The completed chairs were to take pride of place in the Norrie room as a way to not only involve many New Zealanders in the upcoming Royal visit, but also to remind King George VI of some of the places in New Zealand he might not get to visit in what was planned to be a short tour.

    The request for contributions from expert needlepoint practitioners was a huge success, with each group working to strict instructions to ensure uniformity of the designs. The designs were stitched on canvasses created by the Ministry of Works, who also provided the wool. In total the whole project took around five months to complete. The majority of the work was done by women but there were some men who took up the challenge to contribute as well.

    Lady Freyberg invitation Government House Wellington

    Unfortunately, due to the King’s rapidly declining health the planned Royal visit was cancelled. A short time later in February 1952, King George VI died. Still wishing to thank the many New Zealanders who answered the call to contribute to the needlepoint chairs, on Friday 30th May 1952 Lady Freyberg hosted an afternoon tea to showcase the end result. It was attended by 200 representatives from the respective cities and towns that had helped with the project. Pictured is a copy of the invitation that was sent to those who had contributed to the needlepoint chairs, almost all of whom gladly accepted.

    At the reception, Lady Freyberg gave particular thanks to Miss Dorothy Wills from the Ministry of Works who assembled the necessary materials to create the needlework, Miss Margaret Nairn who drew the charts for the designs and Miss Hilary Newton who painted the designs on the canvasses. Lady Freyberg reserved the highest praise for Mrs A. L. B. Nairn, who not only supervised working parties at Government House, but also voluntarily travelled to almost each town and city to offer guidance to the groups working on their respective pieces. The completed chairs were arranged in the ballroom and were lit up with spotlights to accentuate the work of the attendees.

    Although the chairs were never seen by King George VI, they were in Government House when Queen Elizabeth II arrived for her first Royal visit (also the first in New Zealand from a reigning monarch) in December 1953. They have remained in the Norrie dining room ever since and are used for the many formal dinners and luncheons held there each year. The frames of the chairs were replaced by David Kirkland in the early 90s, but the original needlepoint inserts still remain.  

    1952 newspaper article about the reception at Government House Wellington




  • Election milestones

    The Governor-General's role in the election process included the signing of a proclomation dissolving Parliament and yesterday, the signing of the writ and associated documents, directing Alicia Wright, the Chief Electoral Officer to hold a general election on 17 October. The writ will be returned to the Clerk of the House of Representatives after the election, along with the names of the successful candidates in the general election.

    Dame Patsy and Alicia Wright
  • Waitangi Day garden reception ballot

    The Waitangi Day Garden Reception has become something of a highlight in the Government House calendar. Unfortunately event planning in the Covid-19 era requires us to do things differently, so there will be no public ballot for next year's event.

    Thanks to every one who's supported the ballot over the last six years. We've enjoyed welcoming so many of you to Government House to share Waitangi Day with us. Hopefully the ballot will return at some stage in the future.

    Strawberries at the Bledis


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