It was a day of celebration for 31 young women as they received their Queen's Guide and Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards at Government House in Auckland on Saturday. Fiona Harnett, GirlGuiding NZ's National President did the honours handing out the awards, while Dame Patsy spoke of the hours of work each recipient had put into the programme and how proud they should feel of their acheivement. Afterwards, Dame Patsy had a chance to meet the recipients and their families during afternoon tea.
This afternoon we were delighted to host a group of young student leaders from around New Zealand who are meeting in Otaki to discuss Future Leadership, as a way to celebrate the 75th Otaki Scholar to come to New Zealand. The 75th Scholar is Cameron Stephen.
The Otaki Scholar comes from Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, and their stay is funded by the Otaki Scholarship, set up in memory of the Captain of a merchant ship Otaki, Captain Archibald Bissett-Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The Otaki was sunk during the First World War.
One of the most popular features at Government House is the collection of carved armorial bearings that hang in the hall. Every Governor-General from 1910 onwards, the date the House was built, is represented.
Sculptor Paul Deans has carved for armorial bearings for the last four Governors-General (Sir Michael Hardie-Boyes, Dame Silvia Cartwright, Sir Anand Satyanand and Sir Jerry Mateparae.)
This week, Paul and wife Kate visited Government House to see his most recent carving of Sir Jerry Mateparae's armorial bearing on display.
Interestingly Paul and his wife both have family links to Government House. Paul's grandfather MAJ George Hutton was an ADC to Lord Liverpool, while Kate's father LT COL John Masters served as an ADC in 1977.
On Friday Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, acting in her role as Administrator of the Government in Dame Patsy's absence, attended a reception to mark the change of command of the Defence Force. She thanked the outgoing Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating and congratulated the new Chief of Defence Force, Air Vice-Marshall Kevin Short.
This is based on a traditional Persian stew called Fesejan, which is usually made with poultry braised in a walnut and pomegranate sauce. This vegetarian version of the sauce is served with roasted sumac and chilli spiced butternut squash, toasted bulgur with fresh pomegranate and grilled baby cos lettuce hearts.
This versatile sauce goes well with roasted meats or vegetables or as a side to stews or warm salads.
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp honey
500ml vegetable stock (or water if none available)
2 tbsp lemon juice
Heat the oven to 170C. Toast the walnuts until golden, then set aside to cool. When cool, blitz in a food processor until they look like fine breadcrumbs.
Warm the oil in a heavy pan and fry the onion until soft, about four or five minutes. Add the spices, cook for a minute and add the puree, bay leaves, molasses, honey, stock and ground walnuts. Season with salt, bring to a simmer and turn the heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. At the end, add the lemon juice.
In the Matariki spirit of imparting knowledge and extending hospitality, last night we were joined by STEM students from around Wellington to hear from astronomer Hari Mogosanu. Her wideranging talk included everything from the relationship between earth and the night sky to the fact that all are, at molecular level, essentially stardust. Our thanks to Museums Wellington staff for helping us see the stars through four telescopes set up on the Terrace.
This morning,Dame Patsy hosted the 2018 Pukaki Scholars for morning tea at Government House. Pukaki was an 18th century Maori warrior, who was a Rangatira of the Ngati Whakaue iwi of Te Arawa in the Rotorua district. An image of the famous carving of Pukaki is on the New Zealand 20 cent coin. The Pukaki Scholarships were created to recognise the links between Ngati Whakaue and the Reserve Bank and every year, Year 10 student leaders affiliated with the iwi are selected to travel to Wellington to visit the Reserve Bank and other notable Wellington institutions
New Zealand Down Syndrome Association celebrated their annual awards with a high tea at Government House. Performer and TV show host Lily Harper; powerlifting champ and artist Josh Cooke and leader and advocate Caroline Quick received National Achievement Awards. Tania Grose and Linda te Kaat shared the Val Sturgess National Volunteer Award for their work on the annual Unforgettaball in Christchurch and former Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson received a life membership for his support and advocacy for the Down Syndrome community.
This morning bad weather forced us to shift the powhiri and inspection of the Guard of Honour for our Credentials ceremony from the South Lawn into the ballroom.
Dame Patsy received the credentials of HE Mr Ta Van Thong, the Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, HE Mr Fernando Curcio Ruigomez, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain, and HE Mr Jaime Bueno-Miranda, the Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia.
The sun shone for the presentation of 10 Queen's Scout Awards and 3 Duke of Edinburgh International Gold Awards on Saturday 9 June at Government House in Auckland.
Friends and famly heard from each Scout about what they've learned from their Scouting experience and later Dame Patsy was able to have a bit of time with each recipient and their family over afternoon tea.
Tonight, Cabaret Government House-style featured Wyn Davies, Musical Director of Opera New Zealand and special guest Natasha Wilson, who is currently appearing in the touring production of The Elixir of Love. The guests at tonight's fundraiser for Opera New Zealand were delighted with Wyn’s virtuoso piano performance, wit and showmanship - and Natasha's exquisite singing.
Head chef Simon Peacock says it's soup season and we have to agree. This is one he made earlier this week - parsnip, black lentil and fresh chestnut soup. Seriously yum! Lentils are brilliant in soups, being nutritious,tasty and inexpensive so Simon has found this recipe for Moroccan lentil soup from Annabel Langbein that you might like to try at home. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare too!
Congratulations to the five new Blake Leaders - Peter Beck , Sandra Alofivae, Dr. Miles Gregory, Soana Pamaka and David Cameron and the first Blake Leader-Environmental Assoc Professor Rochelle Constantine.
Dr Rhian Salmon was guest speaker at the Zonta Science Awards last night. Her speech was inspiring, informative and pertinent and deserves to be shared.
The Zonta science award is about celebrating women in science. There are three important words in that sentence – celebrate, women, and science. And arguably, the most important of these is Celebrate.
Celebrations are so important to our cultural and personal identity. We use them to not only remind ourselves of the things that we value, but to actively live those values. We use them to show our value for individuals who are important in our lives – people who have just been born, who have passed away, are making a life commitment to each other, or marking a significant anniversary. We also use them to reinforce national identity – from the haka at the start of an All Blacks game to staying up late to watch Meghan and Harry’s wedding – by participating in these celebrations we actively contribute to keeping these aspects of our culture alive, valued, and relevant. So, too, with an event like today.
The Zonta Club of Wellington didn’t just choose to provide funding for an up-and-coming female science star, it put on a full fanfare to acknowledge this event – in Government House no less! And by all of us coming today to join this celebration, we reinforce the values that underpin this prize. By doing so, we are all doing our bit for reinforcing cultural values that support and acknowledge the role of women, and science, not to mention women in science, in our society.
So let’s move onto the next word: women.
A few years ago I would have wondered if such a prize was really necessary – surely we had got equality by now, I’d have thought.
I was fortunate - I was born into a time and place, a family and community, a generation, and a changing national culture, that encouraged women into science. Girls who were good at science were celebrated at school and strongly encouraged to keep those studies up at University. Whenever I was at a transition, considering my next career stage, I got advice about which doors to knock on, and barely had to knock before they were opened. I’m not saying there was no skill there – just that the system seemed to be excited to welcome more women where opportunity arose. We were still a minority, but at that point a needed and acknowledged, dare I say appreciated, minority. And I thank the generation of feminists before me, men and women, for fighting for and creating that welcoming and fertile ground in which I could grow a successful science career. (Among them I include my parents and my grandparents so tonight I’m deliberately wearing jewellery from both my mother and grandmother to remind me of the role all of us play in this journey.)
Still – we all thought there would be equality by now. It’s 2018! And, thankfully, women in science have, to a large degree, been normalised on a legal and societal level. School and university classes have a much more equal gender balance, women have smashed through almost all the glass ceilings of science, and there is a common commitment by both men and women these days to work towards increasing diversity in the work environment. Completing a degree, or a PhD or a post-doc is still hard…. but we try to make it equally hard for everyone.
I’m not sure if I can yet say the same for establishing a career in research and academia – that it’s equally hard for everyone. Unfortunately, as you move higher up the career ladder, there are still inequalities, glass ceilings, and pay gaps, some of which were highlighted by research published this week by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
One of the things I love about Motu is that they summarise every research output with a haiku. The one released this week read as follows:
Being a mother
means decreased hours and wages.
No such change for dads.
And yes, their study found that even highly educated and high achieving, professional, women experience a significant pay gap and slower career progression than men, especially after having children, and even if they return to work very quickly.
The knock-on effect of this is that we still have very few women in senior decision-making positions. Even though there are now an increasing number of individual superstars like our Prime Minister, the Governor General, and many other amazing pioneers who are in this room – that is still what they are: pioneers. The exception, rather than the norm.
The institutional culture set at these senior levels, therefore – of Boards, of Panels, and of Executive Committees – is largely defined by male-dominated, Pakeha, groups. I genuinely believe that the decisions made by these leadership teams would be fundamentally different if they had more diverse representation – and not just by gender. And since the decisions they make effect all of us in various unseen ways, they in turn define our society today.
The explosion of the #metoo movement this year has also unearthed a particularly unpleasant aspect of the different experiences men and women can have in the workforce. Unfortunately, it’s one that science has also not been immune to. And a reminder to all of us that we need to hold ourselves, our colleagues, our institutions and our norms to account.
Hopefully, many of these inequalities will dissolve as the generations age through the system. But to achieve that, several unspoken obstacles need to be acknowledged, and norms redesigned. Men who choose to stay home to look after kids should be as celebrated and supported – and normalised – as women who wish to stay in the workforce when they have young children. We need to experiment with new ways to allow career success – for both men and women – while working part time or after taking a career break.
Appointment Boards and panels need to take a close look at their own composition and see if they are unwittingly favouring people who look, and talk, and act like themselves. It’s slow work, it’s important work, and it’s work that’s not over yet.
The last word in the trio is science.
Dame Margaret first heard me speak outside Te Papa at the March for Science last year. That was also an event that my former self would never have dreamt might have occurred, been necessary, or been one that I would have spoken at.
To be honest, during the fifteen or so years that I was embedded in the science system, I thought that I thought quite a lot about the value of science in society. But I didn’t think much about how that actually played out. About the mechanisms by which science can inform society, about policy processes, about the appropriate role of science in society. This now forms the foundation of what I do in my day job – I’m an academic in the Science in Society group at Victoria University – and I spend a lot of time thinking about, talking about, and researching the processes that connect science within society. And the more I look at this, the more convinced I am that it’s not the role of science to tell society what to do. Rather, it’s the role of science to inform democratic and wise decision-making about important issues like climate change, river quality, health, conservation, and the potential of new technologies.
In facing these issues, however, we assume that the people doing the deep thinking and policy-making are well-informed and educated, value democratic principles, and value scientific information. It is the last – the value of scientific information – that has increasingly been questioned recently. In New Zealand and overseas, we have had ministers, prime ministers and presidents who see scientific information as just one more opinion in a number of voices they have to weigh up. And sure, while it is one of many factors that need to be considered, I do believe that scientific research outcomes are more than just another opinion. And for me, that is what the march for science was about. It was about reinstating, and reminding ourselves, of the validity and role of science in decision-making.
It seems a funny thing, bordering inappropriate, to be talking about a political protest march, and the #metoo movement – at a celebration like this at Government House, but they’re all connected. By marching with placards, tweeting our support for women around the world, and gathering to celebrate an award that acknowledges women in science, we are reinforcing the values that we believe are important in our society, and the values that we expect to be held up in the future. We are, literally, creating a new future. And, I think, a better future.
As Gandhi is supposed to have said (although I couldn’t find a direct reference anywhere) – Be the change you want to see in the world.
Keeping this in mind, I want to end by acknowledging women in science.
The greatest celebration of women in science is carried out, day in, day out, by women scientists. Women, like our prize winner, who are probably not doing science for political reasons, for feminist reasons, or to prove a point about science and democracy. Rather, they are following a passion to learn more about the world, their particular discipline, and the sub-field within their discipline, right down to the equation, molecule, theory, or species that they dedicate years of their lives to thinking about in more depth than any other person in the world.
The truest celebration of women in science is carried out by these women who walk the talk, who make the most of having the freedom and opportunity to be a scientist, and by doing so actively create the kind of future that we all want to be a part of.
So – while it’s important to step back and look at ongoing inequities between men and women in our society, to be concerned about the role that science has in decision-making, and to publicly acknowledge the work of women in science, like we’re doing tonight, it’s the everyday work of so many women doing science that is the real celebration of how far we’ve come.
The Zonta Club of Wellington's Science Award recognises excellence in science and supports further study by an outstanding woman in her early stages of her career. In New Zealand, female representation in STEM subjects falls to around 29 percent at PhD level, and Zonta aims to boost those statistics. Dame Patsy was delighted to present the Zonta Science Award for 2018 to botanist Dr Jessie Prebble, who will use the award to travel overseas for further professional development.
Dame Patsy presented 10 Royal Humane Society of New Zealand silver medals for acts of bravery.
Medal recipients included Zane Paki, who saved a man from a knife attack and Rory Clarke, who was one of a trip of doctors involved in rescuing the driver of a vehicle that drove off the road into an estuary.
It was a night of stories, laughter and memories tonight at Government House as past and present members of the Police National Dive Squad got together to celebrate 50 years of exceptional service to the people of New Zealand.
The members of the squad volunteer to go wherever they are needed, 24/7, around New Zealand, often putting their own lives in danger. We are grateful for the work they do to bring some sense of closure to families by returning the remains of the missing to their loved ones, and we are fortunate to have their skills in uncovering vital pieces of evidence that help solve mysteries and criminal cases.
On Tuesday 29 May, Dame Patsy appeared on RNZ's Bookmarks with Jesse Mulligan. During the interview, Dame Patsy talked about her favourite books, movies and music and revealed the truth about her relationship with Helen Reddy, the Australian singer. (Clue: possibly distant cousins)
On Thursday, Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception for secondary school students taking part in the Shakespeare Globe Centre of New Zealand University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival. Events got off to a dramatic start with a fire alarm seeing all 300 guests bundled out into the cold.
The Queen's Birthday 2018 Honours list has been released. Congratulations to all the New Zealanders who have been acknowledged for their contribution. Dame Patsy and Sir David are looking forward to welcoming all recipients to Government House to receive their insignia later this year.
On Friday night Dame Patsy and Sir David joined in the annual celebration of excellence in Maori farming and agribusiness - the Ahuwhenua Awards dinner, this year held in Christchurch. The winning farm operation must not only be an example of efficient farming practices, but also demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and benefit to the associated iwi.
This year's winner of the Ahuwhenua Trophy was the Onuku Maori Lands Trust and the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer was Harepaora Ngaheu.
The Ahuwhenua Awards were set up by Sir Apirana Ngata and the then Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, in 1933.
Last Friday, Dame Patsy and Sir David helped mark a major milestone for Christchurch Girls High School with the official opening of the first major rebuild project since the school was extensively damaged by the Canterbury earthquakes.
They were given a tour of the magnificent new building, which houses the arts faculty, and saw memorabilia from a school which is notable for being the second oldest girls' secondary school in New Zealand.
This morning Dame Patsy and Sir David visited the Police College to touch base with Wing 316 recruits, who are currently in their 7th week of training to become Police officers. Dame Patsy is Patron of Wing 316.
The recruits range in age from 19 to 50. Dame Patsy noted that although the demographic data for the recruits was representative of contemporary New Zealand in terms of ethnicity, that only 30 percent of them were female, and she looked forward to seeing the numbers of women increasing in future intakes.
Dame Patsy and Sir David were welcomed with a powhiri before having lunch with the recruits.
Many thanks to the Centre for Brain Research for the opportunity for Dame Patsy to speak at the dinner held at St Mathew-in-the-City in Auckland on 11 May, and for providing us with photos taken on the night. The Centre involves academics, clinicians, patients and families in furthering our knowledge of brain diseases and their treatment.
Educator, treaty settlement adviser and Maori heritage protector Sir John Clarke was knighted at Government House this morning by Dame Patsy. The sixth and final investiture ceremony for this round included representatives from the worlds of the arts, sport and music as wel as a significant number from Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
Congratulations to all 22 honour recipients at this morning's ceremony at Government House. They included The Hon Sir Douglas White, KNZM for services to the judiciary; former Reserve Bank Governor Graham Wheeler, CNZM; and broadcasters Philip Sherry, MNZM and Lloyd Scott, MNZM.