This week Dame Patsy has presented Mentioned in Despatches Awards to veterans of the Vietnam War, to family members, or to friends of deceased recipients.
Mentioned in Despatches Awards were given in recognition of gallantry and high levels of service. The Award is visible on the Vietnam Medal as a bronze oak leaf.
At the time, the citations were generally written by the commander of the unit involved and sometimes were read out on a Unit Parade. At this week's ceremony, as the citations were read, the acts of gallantry and service of each recipient was acknowledged, and a written copy was given to the recipients or their representatives.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted around 2000 people at Government House's Waitangi Day commemorations this afternoon. They were entertained by Te Whare Kura o Nga Mokopuna, the Beat Girls, and NZ Opera Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists Pasquale Orchard, Angus Simmons, and Will King.
Dame Patsy and Sir David began Waitangi Day 2019 at Onuku Marae near Akaroa. It was Dame Patsy's first Waitangi Day in the South Island and while the weather was unexpectedly chilly, the welcome from Ngai Tahu was warm.
Dame Patsy was loaned a beautiful korowai, made by Ngai Tahi weaver Paula Rigby , for the event. Another highlight of the day was an erudite and meaningful speech from Tā Tipene O'Regan.
The annual Beat Retreat ceremony at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds this evening commemorated longstanding naval connections with Waitangi. It was perfect weather for the crowd to witness marching by the Guard of Honour, the precision movements of the navy band, and performance by the cultural group, all against the glorious backdrop of a Bay of Islands vista.
Diplomats accredited to New Zealand are currently in Northland on a tour related to the history of nationhood in New Zealand, dating from the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840. Today Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a lunch for them and their partners in Russell.
One of Northland's favourite sons, Sir Hec Busby, received his knighthood from Dame Patsy today in front of a huge crowd of well-wishers at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. Sir Hec was recognised for reviving the tradition of building waka hourua, traditional ocean going waka, as well as the skills required to navigate by the stars and ocean currents. As a result, the voyaging tradition of Polynesian seafarers who came to Aotearoa, and returned to the Pacific Islands on return journeys, has been replicated, and strengthened the connections with our Pacific whanau. Dame Patsy thanked Sir Hec for adding another chapter to our history.
This afternoon Dame Patsy received the credentials of the Ambassador of the Lebanese Republic, HE Mr Milad Raad; the Ambassador of Iceland, HE Mrs Kristin Arnadottir; and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, HE Mr Paul Gulleik Larsen.
This morning, Dame Patsy received the credentials of the High Commissioner of the Cook Islands, HE Mrs Elizabeth Foster Wright-Koteka; the High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia, HE Mr Frank Francis Bwalya; the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HE Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Alsuhaibani; and the Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, HE Mr Makarimi Abissola Adechoubou.
Dame Patsy and Sir David spent yesterday afternoon at Papakura Military Camp with the 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment, learning more about the Regiment’s history and culture. Their Excellencies also visited the camp’s memorial area and chapel and particularly enjoyed meeting serving NZSAS personnel.
In this photo they were joined by current Aides-de-Camp, Captain Grace Blanks and Lieutenant Dany Rassam, and outgoing Aide-de-Camp Lieutenant Emily Keat.
Government House Auckland was gifted to the Queen for the use of Governors-General by Sir Frank and Lady Mappin, who were noted horticulturalists and philanthropists. The grounds that they created, a garden of national significance, needed to be protected and developed in a sympathetic manner.
The Grounds Committee has been tasked with advising on that work, and today, at a lunch to mark 50 years of its work, Dame Patsy planted a kawaka on the lawn. Sir Rob Fenwick, grandson and inaugural member of the committee, marked his retirement from the role by planting another kawaka.
Governor Hobson provided a naval guardship for the first Auckland regatta, and every year since, the Royal New Zealand Navy has kept up that tradition for the Auckland Anniversary Day regatta. Today, Dame Patsy and Sir David joined the crew and guests on HMNZS Canterbury, which proved to be a perfect vantage point to see yachts of all sizes and vintages competing in the ocean races, as well as several cruise ships in the harbour.
Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the final concert of the NZ Opera School's 2019 season. The concert, "Great Opera Moments 2019) featured 20 up and coming New Zealand singers who were specially chosen to study with international tutors.
After the concert, Dame Patsy presented some prizes with Samson Setu being awarded the Dame Sister Mary Leo and Guy and Sue Haddleton scholarships.
Dame Patsy and Sir David were given a special tour of the new Wildbase Recovery facility in Palmerston North. The facility, which is in it's commissioning phase, is will be a rehabilitation centre for some of the many New Zealand birds operated on at Massey's Wildbase Hospital.
Dame Patsy is Wildbase patron and was interested to see the faciltities and hear more about the work of the centre, which will have a strong educational focus alongside its conservation work.
Over $4 million of the $7 million cost was raised within the community, with school mufti days and cake stalls adding to the totals raised from local businesses and sponsors. Substantial support was also received from the Central Energy Trust.
Once it's opened to the public, the facility will be free to visit. Despite there being no guest birds receiving rehabilitation, Dame Patsy did get to see the resident tuatara, tui and kaka.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a function for people and organisations who have had a role in the running of Government House in Auckland over the last year. Guests ranged from electricians and security specialists to cleaning company staff, art experts and all points in between.
Thank you to everyone who played a part in helping us maintain the high standards of Government House this year.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a second dinner to thank arts patrons for their support for New Zealand's creative sector, this time at Government House in Auckland.
Actor and Arts Foundation Laureate Cliff Curtis spoke about the effect philanthropy has on the arts and the Harriet Friedlander New York Residency was officially presented to dancer Lucy Marinkovich and musician Lucien Johnson.
The evening was rounded out by a performance from up and coming young opera singer Madison Nonoa.
Today, Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Kauri Flats School in Takanini, Auckland.
Pupils have been attending the school since 2017 but building only finished recently. The area is experiencing lots of growth and the roll of 130 is expected to expand by at least another 100 students next year.
Dame Patsy spoke and declared the school officially open and then watched some very impressive student performances.The haka featuring the whole school was particularly impressive.
This evening Government House celebrated the arts in New Zealand with the people who help to make it possible for artists, writers and performers to develop their talent, create new works and make us think about who we are and where we are going.
Composer John Psathas spoke about the role that arts patronage had played in his career and Paula Morris was presented with the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. Musical interludes were provided by the NZSO String Quartet and bass Martin Snell sang arias, accompanied by Bruce Greenfield.
Heart Kids Wellington couldn't have asked for a better day to celebrate their 30th anniversary, with blue skies and sunshine the order of the day at Government House.
Maia the Heart Kids Bear and Marshall from Paw Patrol proved popular, as did the bouncy castle and face painting. An appearance by Anna and Elsa from 'Frozen' who sang, danced and told stories was also a huge hit.
Special guests, Heart Kids founders Linda Davies and Michelle Mann spoke about their experiences dealing with the hospital system that led to the foundation of Heart Children, the organisation now known as Heart Kids.
The sun shone for today's visit by helicopter to Waiouru, where 34 New Zealand officer cadets and 8 officer cadets from 5 other nations graduated from their commissioning course, and performed precision parade ground drills to the accompaniment of the Army Band. Friends and whanau were on hand to congratulate the new officers. We couldn't stay for the dinner and ball this evening, but it's sure to be a wonderful night of celebration.
Coco had competition for the affections of Dame Patsy and Sir David after a visit to Te Hopai Home and Hospital in Wellington this morning. They were there to observe the work of Canine Friends Pet Therapy, a volunteer organisation that takes dogs into hospitals and rest homes. Pet therapy has been found to be very valuable for older people and it was obvious that many of the residents had a strong bond with the therapy dogs.
Star of the show was Jack, the well-trained Border Collie who did a skateboard demonstration for the residents and a rather impressed Dame Patsy and Sir David.
Yesterday Dame Patsy joined 800 plus women at the Bold Steps Conference in Auckland. The conference was initiated by women who are leaders in their field and provides the attendees with opportunities to hear inspiring advice about career progression and networking.
Dame Patsy was a guest speaker, and noted that New Zealand has normalised having women in top positions. She spoke about the importance of respect for the people that we work with directly, of understanding oneself and what we are capable of doing, and remaining positive.
Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand has been supporting individuals and families for 50 years. Tonight's reception at Government House acknowledged the tireless efforts of volunteers, medical personnel, researchers and families who have made a difference in the lives of people living with CF, which is the most common incurable disease in New Zealand, currently affecting over 500 children and adults. At tonight's reception, a memorial candle was lit alongside a book recording the names of New Zealanders who have lost their lives to CF. We wish CFNZ all the very best with its quest for a new meaning for CF - Cure Found.
In 1999 the Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust launched the Elliot Scholarships. Each year since then, the Trust has awarded three scholarships worth $25,000 to students who fit the criteria of being academically successful, with future leadership potential and who have faced challenges in their personal or family circumstances.
The three 2018 scholars Matthew Manukuo, Nicole White and Jennifer Thonrithi were presented with their awards at a special dinner, with guests including Elliot Scholarship alumni.
Today marks the 125th anniversary of the first general election in New Zealand where women were able to cast their vote. Dame Patsy hosted a morning tea to mark the occasion and thank the staff from the Ministry of Women for their work organising Suffrage 125 this year.
Over 355 events marking Suffrage 125 took place in New Zealand during the commemoration period.
Today Dame Patsy officialted at the swearing-in of the Chief Justice and a Judge of the High Court of Niue.
Judge Miharo Armstrong and new Chief Justice, Judge Craig Coxhead each swore an Oath of Allegiance and a Judicial Oath in front of Dame Patsy. The High Commissioner of Niue, HE Fisa Pihigia assisted with the administering of the Oaths.
In attendance were Jusge Patrick Savage, outgoing Chief Justice of Niue and Judge Wilson Isaac, Chief Judge of the Maori Land Court.