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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Waitangi Day Dawn Service 2023

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies this morning attended the Dawn Service at Te Whare Rūnanga on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to mark 183 years since the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Hundreds gathered in reflection and song as dawn broke over the beautiful Bay of Islands.

    In the Governor-General's annual Waitangi Day Address, Her Excellency said: 'I have no doubt we are growing in confidence and wisdom as a nation. But this process takes time – and it is something we must continue to work at, on this and every day, for ourselves, for our children, and for all in the future who choose to call New Zealand their home.'

    Wishing all New Zealanders, all the very best this Waitangi Day.

    Dame Cindy reading a karakia at the Dawn Service

    You can find more images from the Dawn Service here.

  • Welcome onto Te Whare Rūnanga

    This afternoon, Dame Cindy was welcomed onto the Waitangi Treaty Grounds at Te Whare Rūnanga. The pōwhiri also included tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Titewhai Harawira – both of whom passed away since last Waitangi Day, and who each made their own distinct and significant contributions to the history and legacy of Waitangi. In her address following the pōwhiri, the Governor-General expressed her hope that 'this can be our year of healing – when fractured families re-unite, when hope replaces fear, and New Zealanders turn their hearts and minds to using their power for good.'

    You can find further photos from the pōwhiri here, and Dame Cindy's address here.

  • Iwi Chairs Forum Gala Dinner

    Last night Dame Cindy and Dr Davies attended the Iwi Chairs Forum Gala Dinner in the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. The forum meets four times a year to discuss economic, social, and environmental matters, share ideas, and work to enhance the mana of iwi Maori.

    Speech transcript  

    Image Gallery

  • Appointment of Ministers and Allocation of Portfolios

    Dame Cindy and Hon Megan Woods greet the new Members of the Executive Council

    On the advice of the Prime Minister, Dame Cindy appointed Aotearoa New Zealand’s newest Ministers and Members of the Executive Council during a special ceremony at Government House this morning - Ginny Andersen, Barbara Edmonds, Duncan Webb, Willow-Jean Prime, Rino Tirikatene and Deborah Russell. Jo Luxton was then appointed as new Parliamentary Under-Secretary.

    More photos

    A video of the ceremony is available to watch below.


  • UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day

    For UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies attended a memorial at the Auckland War Memorial, hosted by the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand. The memorial began with a welcome by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, and featured accounts of survivors of the Holocaust, and particulary from the Warsaw Ghetto. 2023 marks the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which was the first significant urban revolt against the Nazis during WWII, and the largest uprising by Jews.

    One of the accounts came from Alicja Newman, who escaped the Warsaw Ghetto at just 10 years old with the help of her mother. Alicja lit a candle and placed it next to three cobblestones that originally came from the Ghetto. To read more about Alicja’s life and escaping the Nazis, click here.

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    A violinist performing Zog Nit Keyn Mol, Song of the Warsaw Ghetto

  • Visit to Devonport Naval Base

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies were formally welcomed to the Devonport Naval Base with a pōwhiri at Te Taua Moana Marae. After the pōwhiri, Dame Cindy presented the 2022 Bravo Zulu awards, which recognises outstanding achievements by sailors and units in the Royal New Zealand Navy. Next up was a chance for Dame Cindy and Dr Davies to come aboard some of the vessels in our Naval fleet, including Anzac Class warship the HMNZS Te Mana, and the HMNZS Aotearoa. Aotearoa is the largest ship in our Navy, and was deployed to Tonga where its desalination plant was able to provide fresh water after the devastating volcanic eruption in January 2022. The final stop at Devonport was a visit to Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, followed by a performance by the Royal New Zealand Navy band, featuring visiting friends from the Royal Canadian Navy.

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    Piping party aboard the Aotearoa

  • Appointment Ceremony of the new Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister

    After accepting the resignation of the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern this morning, Dame Cindy held a ceremony to appoint the Rt Hon Chris Hipkins as New Zealand’s 41st Prime Minister, and Hon Carmel Sepuloni as the new Deputy Prime Minister. At today’s ceremony, Prime Minister Hipkins was also appointed Minister for National Security and Intelligence. A video of the ceremony is available below.

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    Dame Cindy Kiro signs the warrant appointing Hon Chris Hipkins as Prime Minister


  • Whakamana Hiranga Icon Awards 2022

    Last night at Government House Wellington, Dame Cindy was delighted to officially welcome three new Arts Foundation Icons Whakamana Hiranga to a living circle of 20 of New Zealand’s most significant artists. Dame Robin White, Papali'i Fatu Feu'u, and Dame Jane Campion each received a bronze medallion set with pounamu, and a pin designed by sculptor John Edgar, honouring their immense contributions to the New Zealand arts. In the words of the late Professor Piri Sciascia ONZM: 'He toi whakairo, he mana tangata. Where there is artistic excellence, there is human dignity.'

    Dame Cindy with the official party

    You can read Dame Cindy's address here, and find more photos from the evening here.

  • Hato Hone St John and Army Cadet Cadet of the Year Parade and Hato Hone St John Cadet of the Year Hui

    Dr Davies went to Mangawhai for the Hato Hone St John and New Zealand Cadet Forces End of Year Parade, followed by attending the inaugural Hato Hone St John Youth Cadet of the Year Hui. The Hui officially recognised Nate Whitfield as Cadet of the Year for 2023. Dr Davies and Hato Hone St John National Youth Manager Kerry Mitchell also presented Regional Youth Manager Anastasia Tinsel with a challenge coin, recognising her bravery and quick thinking while providing first-aid support at a serious road accident.

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    The awards on display before the presentation

  • Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust Scholarships 2022

    It was a privilege to welcome the 2022 Sir George Elliot Scholars to Government House Auckland this morning. Dame Cindy presented Husna Hazari, from Auckland Girls' Grammar School; Hezekiah Young, from Dilworth School; and Sophie Roberts, from Onehunga High School, with the prestigious scholarship that will go towards their university education. Each recipient has displayed academic excellence and great leadership potential – all while overcoming challenges in their lives. We wish them all the best for their university studies.

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    Hezekiah Young, Sophie Roberts, Husna Nazari

  • Zayed College for Girls End of Year Prizegiving

    This week, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies attended Zayed College for Girls end of year prizegiving, honouring the senior students who have had a very successful 2022. Zayed College is a small Muslim school in Māngere, with a very high-achieving student base. Of the 13 year 13 students, 12 received scholarships for university study. At the prizegiving, Zayed College welcomed Dame Cindy and Dr Davies with a pōwhiri, led by the school’s kapa haka group. Congratulations to all the students, and all the very best for the future ahead.

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    A kapa haka performance from Zayed College

  • Order of New Zealand dinner 2022

    Jim Bolger and Helen Clark
    This evening, Dame Cindy hosted a very special dinner for members of the Order of New Zealand, which is New Zealand’s highest honour. Members have achieved to the highest level in their respective fields – each have made significant contributions to Aotearoa’s cultural, social and political landscapes. The Order of New Zealand consists of no more than 20 living New Zealanders at one time, with additional members awarded the honour to commemorate events of significance. In honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, Dame Silvia Cartwright and Sir Tipene O’Regan were made additional members earlier this year.

    Attendees also included former Prime Ministers Helen Clark and Jim Bolger, author Joy Cowley, theologian Professor Sir Lloyd Geering and poet Professor Albert Wendt.

    The evening also served as a welcome for Rachel Hayward, the new Secretary and Registrar of the Order of New Zealand; the New Zealand Order of Merit; and the Queen’s Service Order. King Charles III approved Ms Hayward’s appointment to these roles on the 28th of November 2022.

    More photos

    Dame Cindy's speech

    Dame Cindy Kiro with members of the Order of New Zealand

  • Sir Murray Halberg ONZ

    We acknowledge today the sad news of the passing of Sir Murray Halberg. Sir Murray's outstanding athletics career was highlighted by his winning the gold medal in the 5,000 metres at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960. Following his retirement from running, Sir Murray founded the Halberg Foundation – an organisation which supports physically disabled young people to participate in sport. In the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours, Sir Murray was appointed to the Order of New Zealand – New Zealand's highest honour. We extend our condolences to Sir Murray's family and friends, and all who knew this extraordinary New Zealander.

  • Excellence In Foster Care Awards 2022

    This afternoon, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies welcomed the recipients of the Caring Families Aotearoa Excellence in Foster Care Awards. Each recipient has gone above and beyond in their vital roles as foster carers, taking in at-risk young people and providing them with a nurturing, secure environment to grow up in. The recipients’ stories are truly inspirational, demonstrating the dedication, love and support they bring to the young children in their care. The reception also featured an amazing performance by Te Aro Kapa Haka.

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    Andreas and Maria Leinfellner stand as their citation is read out

  • Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Medal Presentation 2022

    This afternoon Dame Cindy presented Royal Humane Society of New Zealand medals to six recipients: Anna Brooke, Michael Smith, Henry Deans and Jeffrey Davies for their part in rescuing two trampers trapped on a mountain side; Paul Gerritson for rescuing two people from a burning car; and Naomi Gedye for the role she played in a hostage situation.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery

    Dame Cindy with Royal Humane Society NZ medal recipients Anna Brooke, Jeffrey Davies, Michael Smith and Henry Deans
  • Honorary Doctorate from Massey University

    Dame Cindy on Friday received an Honorary Doctorate in Health from her alma mater Massey University in Palmerston North. During her address to graduands in the beautiful Regent Theatre, Her Excellency said: 'We need critical-thinking, curious, empathetic people: to safeguard our democracy; to find solutions that will protect our planet and biodiversity; and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to lead free, happy, and healthy lives.' Congratulations to all of this week's graduates, and all the very best for your future.

    Dame Cindy receiving her Honorary Doctorate

    You can read Dame Cindy's address to graduands here, and find more images from the ceremony here.

  • Visit to Waikato and Cambridge Studs

    On Thursday, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited the Waikato and Cambridge Studs – two of New Zealand’s premier Thoroughbred nurseries, each carrying an international reputation for breeding excellence. While there, she met some of the resident stallions, including Savabeel – descendent of the legendary Sir Tristram. Queen Elizabeth II was patron of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Association for 32 years over the course of her reign. On a personal request during her tour to New Zealand in 1990, the Queen visited Cambridge Stud, where she was hosted by pioneering Thoroughbred breeder and trainer, Sir Patrick Hogan.

    Dame Cindy and Henry Plumpte inspecting Alamanzor

    You can find more images from the visit here.

  • Child Cancer Foundation Awards 2022

    Yesterday Dame Cindy and Dr Davies hosted a reception honouring a new Life Member of the Child Cancer Foundation, Karen Heslip. Dame Cindy also presented medals to Star Tamariki, children who have had cancer and tell their stories to give other child cancer sufferers hope and support.

    Image Gallery 

    Speech Transcript

    Jim Bolt, Karen Heslip and Dame Cindy
    Dame Cindy and the Star Tamariki
  • Waitemata Rowing Club

    Darcy Hadfield was the first New Zealander to win a medal at an Olympic Games. His bronze medal in the single sculls at the 1920 Antwerp Games set the bar for New Zealand rowers to emulate, and arguably started New Zealand's prominence in the sport.

    Yesterday Dame Cindy visited the Waitemata Rowing Club to join members of Darcy Hadfield's family and club members in celebrating Darcy's international rowing successes, and his contributions to the club, including coaching and putting his shipbuilding skills to the repair of equipment.

    Image Gallery

    Speech transcript

  • Credentials Ceremony November 2022

    Dame Cindy welcomed seven new overseas representatives to New Zealand today: HE Mr Viktor Vavricka, Ambassador of Switzerland; HE Mr Chang-sik Kim, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea; HE Mr Areg Hovhannisian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia; HE Mr Kwacha Chisiza, High Commissioner for the Republic of Malawi; HE Mr Pontus Melander, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden; HE Mr Victor Arturo Cabrera Hidalgo, Ambassador of the Republic of Ecuador; and HE Mr John Tipis, High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya. The Royal New Zealand Air Force supplied the Māori cultural group, Guard of Honour, and band for the outside portion of the ceremonies on this beautiful Wellington day.

    HE Mr John Tipis, High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya, inspecting the Guard of Honour

    More photos

  • Launch of the Constitution of New Zealand

    Yesterday Dame Cindy was on hand to launch Justice Matthew Palmer and Dean Parker's new survey of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements "The Constitution of New Zealand". 

  • Regional visit to Timaru

    Dame Cindy Kiro and Ranui Ngarimu walk on to Arowhenua Marae

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies headed to South Canterbury for a regional visit to Timaru. Their Excellencies first engagement was a powhiri at Arowhenua Marae, which lies between the junction of the Temuka and Opihi Rivers. In her korero at the marae, Dame Cindy spoke of the extraordinary success Ngāi Tahu has had in protecting and enhancing its taonga, and creating opportunities for tamariki and whānau. Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited Arowhenua Māori School, where the young students performed a kapa haka.

    Dame Cindy visited Arowhenua Whānau Services – a Māori Health Provider providing a marae-based health clinic, mental health services and Tamariki Ora. To sum up the significant work they do for their community, it can be described in the whakatauki they in their clinic – “Me mahi tahi tātou mō te oranga o te katoa. We should work together for the wellbeing of everyone”.

    That evening, Their Excellencies host a reception for community leaders in the Timaru area, including some recent recipients of New Zealand Royal Honours.

    Dame Cindy Kiro and Dr Richard Davies looking at Māori rock art
    On the second day of the regional, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited one of the sites of extraordinary Māori rock art found across the South Canterbury region. Aside from the physical threats to these taonga, such as erosion and vandalism, one of the major challenges in keeping them protected is the lack of awareness of their very existence. Te Ana Māori Rock Art, the region’s rock art centre, operated by Ngāi Tahu, along with a team of wonderful volunteers, act as guardians of this fragile aspect of our national heritage, and work to encourage people to respect and conserve it for future generations. Despite the cold weather, it was a very special morning, spending time in the company of these works alive with the voices of our ancestors.

    Dr Davies inspecting seeds at Te Kete Tipuranga o Huirapa
    The day before, Dr Davies had been to Te Kete Tipuranga o Huirapa, which is a native nursery created by Arowhenua, that produces around 100 000 plants each year. It was wonderful to see this kaupapa in action, as many of the plants they grew were planted at Māori rock art sites - part of a project restoring the land to how it would have been hundreds of years ago when the rock art was created.

    After seeing the rock art, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies met with Presbyterian Support South Canterbury and some of the former refugee families making Timaru their home. PSSC Refugee Settlement Service provides settlement support to the refugees, linking them with community support and services, so that after a year, those families will have the knowledge and confidence to independently access and use mainstream services. PSSC, with its dedicated team of staff and volunteers, will be resettling up to 110 Syrian refugees per year over the next two and a half years.

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies meeting former refugees in South Canterbury

    The final engagement took Dame Cindy and Dr Davies to Maungati, just inland from Timaru, to see the newly unveiled Windhausen Land Girl Monument on the Rongomaraeroa Peace Walk. The monument commemorates the Women’s Land Service members, also known as ‘land girls’, who kept the country’s farms going while men fought overseas during World War II.

    More photos


  • Investiture ceremony for Dame Silvia Cartwright ONZ and Sir Tipene O'Regan ONZ

    Yesterday Dame Cindy presided at a ceremony at Government House where she awarded Dame Silvia Cartwright and Sir Tipene O'Regan insignia for their additional membership of the Order of New Zealand.

    Sir Tipene O'Regan, Dame Cindy and Dame Silvia Cartwright
    Dame Silvia Cartwright and Sir Tipene O'Regan
  • Christchurch Investitures 8 November 2022 PM

    For the final investiture in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Dame Cindy recognised seven further outstanding New Zealanders. Among them was Farid Ahmed, a survivor of the 2019 terrorist attacks who has since travelled nationally and internationally speaking about love, forgiveness and tolerance.

    Mairehe Tankersley, received an MNZM for her instrumental work in service to supporting prisoners’ welfare, and for providing tikanga Māori and cultural competency across education groups and social services. Kate Leebody received a QSM for her contributions to netball in Southland, and for services to her community. Warm congratulations to all of today’s recipients.

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    Ms Mairehe Tankersley, Dame Cindy Kiro

  • Christchurch Investiture 8 November 2022 AM

    This morning in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Dame Cindy held investitures for eight Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee honours recipients, including our most decorated para athlete, Dame Sophie Pascoe. Dame Sophie had her international debut in the pool at 13 years old. In her career so far, she has become a Paralympic champion, Commonwealth Games champion and world champion swimmer.

    Also among this morning’s recipients was Mr Yu-Shiun Tang, who received a QSM for services to the Chinese community. Mr Tang is a master calligrapher who has held exhibitions throughout Christchurch. He teaches calligraphy and tai chi to generations of others in the community. Congratulations to all this morning’s recipients.

    Dame Sophie Pascoe, DNZM, of Christchurch, for services to swimming

    You can find more images from the ceremony here.

  • Public Service Day Awards 2022

    Last night Government House celebrated Public Service Day by hosting Te Ra Ratonga Tumatanui Public Service Day Awards. The 34 public servants received their Public Service Medals from Dame Cindy, the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Grant Robertson and the Minister for the Public Service, Hon Chris Hipkins. The medals recognise people who exemplify the spirit of service and are making a real difference through their work for New Zealand and New Zealanders. Warm congratulations to all the recipients.

  • 2022 Rhodes Scholarship

    Our very warmest congratulations to this year's New Zealand Rhodes Scholars. Elliott Hughes, Maisy Bentley, and Oliver Sutcliffe's selection is not only testament to their outstanding academic careers so far, but also to their clear commitment to using their talents for the good of others. They, along with all the shortlisted candidates, will undoubtedly go on to achieve remarkable things, and help to make Aotearoa New Zealand a better place for future generations.

    Elliott Hughes, Maisy Bentley, Dame Jane Harding, Dame Cindy Kiro, and Oliver Sutcliffe'

  • Ngā Tohunga Whakatere: The Navigators

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited Space Place at Carter Observatory to see Ngā Tohunga Whakatere: The Navigators. The 3D film tells the story of how Māori, Pasifika and Europeans sailed to Aotearoa by relying on the skies as their guide. It tells this story through the eyes of Moko, a young girl learning how to navigate using the stars, as her tūpuna once did. Moko is played by young Wellington actress Reina Stephens, who co-stars with Lawrence Wharerau from Experience Wellington and our own Kaumātua, Joe Harawira.  

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    Dame Cindy Kiro, Dr Richard Davies and some of the Trustees of Experience Wellington

  • Rimu planting for the Platinum Jubilee

    Dr Davies visited Glenside’s historic Halfway House to plant a rimu in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. The heritage house and gardens can be found roughly at the halfway point between Wellington and Porirua, and was originally built in the 1840s as a coaching stop for travellers going between the two cities. The gardens are filled with pre-1900’s plants, in keeping with what would have been there when Halfway House was constructed.

    During Prince Alfred’s Royal visit to Aotearoa in 1869, Thomas Drake, who had connections to the historic building, gifted two trees to be planted at the site of the original Government House – where the Beehive is now located. Over 150 years later, Dr Davies was able to return the favour with this rimu. Ann Foster joined Dr Davies at the planting, with a heritage camelia in honour of her family connections to the area.

    The gardens are open to the public and are largely maintained by volunteers, you can read more about the gardens on their website.

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    Dr Richard Davies with the team who keep Halfway House running

  • Appointment of permanent Usher of the Black Rod

    Very warmest congratulations to Sandy McKie on her permanent appointment as Usher of the Black Rod – the first woman appointed to the role in New Zealand’s history. The Usher of the Black Rod acts as the Governor-General’s messenger for ceremonial communications with the House of Representatives, including to summon the House to hear the Speech from the Throne. Sandy was appointed acting Black Rod in October 2020, and we wish her all the very best in her new permanent role.

  • Queen's Park Oak Planting

    At 15 years of age, a young Princess Elizabeth instructed that acorns from Windsor Great Park be sent to Wellington New Zealand, to be planted in Queen’s Park – a site developed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Unfortunately, the journey of these acorns might have been waylaid getting to the other side of the world, possibly due to World War II. Today, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies joined the Friends of Queen’s Park and the Thorndon Residents Association to fulfil the late Sovereign’s wish to see oak trees in this little park in Te Whanganui-a-tara. By the first oak, Dame Cindy unveiled a plaque commemorating the late Sovereigns Platinum Jubilee, and by the second oak a plaque was unveiled by Mayor Andy Foster, commemorating the 125th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The afternoon was concluded with a fitting afternoon tea which included, naturally, Queen Elizabeth cake.

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    Dame Cindy unveils the plaque at Queen's Park

  • Women's Rugby World Cup Teams Welcome

    Dame Cindy was in Auckland to help welcome the 12 competing teams of the women's Rugby World Cup to Aotearoa New Zealand, and presented each team captain their participation cap and medal. The event also featured a welcome from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and a stunning Pasifika performance. This is the first time the women’s Rugby World Cup has been held in the Southern Hemisphere, with the first games taking place at a sold-out Eden Park. 

    The Rugby World Cup has been greatly anticipated, as it was delayed from its original date in 2021 due to the pandemic. 

    More photos

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