Dame Patsy virtually welcomed incoming Diplomats to Government House with the return of Credentials ceremonies via Zoom this afternoon. Presenting their letters of credence today were HE Mrs Felicidade de Sousa Guterres, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, HE Mr Wolfgang-Lukas Strohmayer, Ambassador of Austria, HE Mr Joe Tapera Mhishi, Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe, HE Mr Ronald Recinos, Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala and HE Mr Mario Farrugia Borg, High Commissioner of the Republic of Malta.
As a result of New Zealand being in Alert Level 3 and with all but two of the Diplomats based in Australia, the ceremony was held via Zoom.
In usual circumstances, Credentials ceremonies showcase a uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand welcome for Ambassadors and High Commissioners as they begin their posting. The setup of the Zoom version instead offers a lesson on Kiwi ingenuity!
This afternoon at Government House, Dame Patsy awarded Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medals to three extraordinary New Zealanders. Surrounded by family and friends, Constable Scott Higby, Finekata Moataane, and Provisional Sergeant Brett Anthony Neal were recognised for acts of exceptional bravery, and for putting their own lives at risk in the service of others. This was Dame Patsy’s final ceremony as patron of the Royal Humane Society, which has been part of New Zealand’s formal acknowledgement and recognition system for nearly 123 years.
After visiting the site during its construction last year, Dame Patsy had the privilege to open Pet Refuge’s new space, which can now welcome up to 75 animals including cats, dogs, birds and other small pets. At the opening, Dame Patsy and Sir David had a tour of the site and its facilities, which offers animal enrichment areas, a vet clinic and some cosy cat beds made by students at Unitec.
A recent study by Women’s Refuge found that 53% of women facing family violence delayed leaving out of fear for the safety of their pets. To answer this need, Pet Refuge was created to give pets temporary accommodation while their owners seek help.
The opening was attended by several people instrumental in the creation of Pet Refuge, including Women's Refuge Chief Executive Dr Ang Jury. Women's Refuge will partner with Pet Refuge to ensure pets caught up in family violence can get to safety while their owners do too.
For Dame Patsy’s final regional visit as Governor-General, she headed north to Taranaki for a three-
day trip. The first stop on the trip was a celebration gala for Taranaki Arts Festival Trust’s 30 Years of Festivals. TAFT are responsible for hosting some of the biggest arts festivals in the Taranaki region, including the hugely popular WOMAD music festival. The evening included a cabaret performance by Mandy Meadows, singing a selection of songs from her show Piaf: The Legend.
The next morning, Dame Patsy and Sir David were welcomed onto the historic Parihaka marae, a village formed by Te Whiti-O-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi in 1866. During the New Zealand Wars, it became a home for disenfranchised and displaced Māori, and was known for its use of peaceful resistance against land confiscation. It was invaded in 1881 by Crown constabulary, who spent four years there and imprisoned many of the settlement’s residents.
Dame Patsy was shown around the Pā, which is home to many whare built by iwi from around the country. She was taken to a hill near the entrance, with views of the Pā, the urupā and Mt Taranaki. The hill was also the site of a barracks used by the constabulary, which had cannons pointing at peaceful protestors below.
On the marae, iwi leaders had a whaikōrero about Parihaka’s past and their plans for the future.
Afterwards, it was on to New Plymouth’s information hub, Puke Ariki. The striking building is home to a library, research centre and museum that focuses on the natural world and history of Taranaki.
That evening, Dame Patsy presented the inaugural Govett-Brewster Foundation Awards at the gallery’s 50th Year celebrations. The awards recognised people who had been instrumental in the creation and support of the gallery over their 50-year history. The Govett-Brewster Gallery is also home to the Len Lye Centre, a gallery dedicated to the Canterbury-born artist. While there, Dame Patsy saw a performance by one of Len Lye’s kinetic works called Wand Dance.
The final day began with a trip up to the historic Camp House in North Egmont National Park to meet with Department of Conservation, Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust and Taranaki Mounga Project to discuss the amazing success they have had in the journey to restore Mt Taranaki’s natural flora and fauna. Together with a huge number of volunteers, the National Park has become the first in the country to be able to say they are goat-free – this has given the natural vegetation a chance to grow back, and has helped the native birds flourish in the area.
The final stop on the regional was to Theory Food, a catering company that has combined with charity Gabby’s Starlit Hope, to provide meals for children and their families while the child is in hospital battling cancer. Dame Patsy and Sir David hopped in the kitchen to help put together some meals destined for parents with kids in hospital; on the menu that evening were chicken tacos.
Below are more photos for the following engagements:
Last night at Government House Dame Patsy was presented with a Distinguished Fellowship Award by the Institute of Directors, in recognition of her contribution in governance roles in the private sector and government.
The second stop on Dame Patsy's final visit to Christchurch was a place she is now well-familiar with - the Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre. This was her fourth visit to the centre, based in the Phillipstown Community Hub. While she was there, members shared their stories about how they came to New Zealand and what it was like for them settling in to their new home.
Founder Ahmed Tani presented Dame Patsy with a poem about diversity to thank her for her visits to the centre during her term.
On their first stop during the day visit to Christchurch, Dame Patsy and Sir David visited leading New Zealand sustainable fashion lable Untouched World. They produce most of their garments in New Zealand from sustainable and ethical sources that are as local as possible, with the exception of fibres unavailable to source in Aotearoa.
While there, they also learned about the brands enviromental education program, Untouched World Foundation. It teaches rangatahi from around the country about leadership and environmental issues, helping better equip the next generation to face the big environmental issues facing our country and the planet.
This afternoon Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the official opening of the Waikato Regional Council's new premises in Hamilton.
Dame Patsy declared the building open, and Kiingi Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero te Tuawhitu unveiled taonga at various points in the building.
The Council chose to move into a building where there was a commitment to reduce carbon footprint wherever possible, in line with the Council’s ‘green pledge’ to its communities. Structural timber flooring has been used instead of concrete and steel, carbon neutral and recycled material has been used in floor coverings, and there is provision for electric vehicle charging and solar panels.
A 10,000m holding tank is located under the garden on Tristram Street, fed from rainwater collected on the roof. This water meets the irrigation requirements of the garden.
Solar panels power water heating, car charging, lighting, and the HVAC systems.
This evening, Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata. The Gallery, which has its permanent home at Shed 11 on Wellington’s Waterfront, tells the story of New Zealanders through portraiture. The charitable trust has a collection of portraits on display, and is currently hosting The Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award. Dame Patsy and Sir David had the chance to visit this exhibition earlier in the week; the new Award encourages emerging Māori artists to create a portrait of their tūpuna. From the 128 entries, 40 finalists were displayed at the Portrait Gallery, with the winners selected by prominent artists Sir Derek Lardelli, Lisa Reihana and Kura Te Waru Rewiri.
At Olympic House in Auckland, Dame Patsy and Sir David received a briefing from New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith and NZOC President Mike Stanley. They also had the chance to speak with soon-to-be departing weightlifting coach Richie Patterson, Black Sticks vice-captain Sam Charlton and karate competitor Andrea Anacan. Andrea Anacan is set to be the first New Zealander to compete in Karate – a new event added to the Olympics.
While at Olympic House, Dame Patsy was presented with a special taonga; a pounamu gifted to each member of the New Zealand Olympic and Paralympic team. The pounamu are individually carved by Ngāi Tahu.
Following on from last week’s dinner for the 11 Defence personnel who have acted as her Aides de
Camp, yesterday evening Dame Patsy thanked New Zealand Defence personnel for their support during her term of office. Army, Air Force and Navy personnel have provided Guards of Honour, cultural parties and bands for ceremonial occasions, including State Welcomes.
Memorable engagements with Defence have included international commemorations, opportunities to meet veterans and current personnel, the naming ceremony for HMNZS ‘Aotearoa’ in South Korea and a subsequent voyage on the ship in New Zealand waters. Other highlights include visiting Defence bases, attending graduation ceremonies – and taking a 10-hour trip on a Hercules to Vanuatu. At the dinner, Chief of Defence AM Kevin Short presented Dame Patsy with the New Zealand Armed Forces award.
To mark the occasion, Government House was lit up with a fireworks display projected on the outside of the building.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted the annual Caring Families Aotearoa Excellence in Foster Care awards for some outstanding carers this afternoon. The annual awards recognise carers from around New Zealand going above and beyond for young people in need. Today, 15 outstanding people were recognised for going above and beyond, looking after tamariki and rangatahi in their care.
Deputy Chair of Caring Families Aotearoa Colin Hardgrave put it well when he said that a caring family brings the gift of healing to tamariki and rangatahi, helping to stop hurt kids becoming hurt adults.
Last Friday, following the investiture ceremony at Christchurch Town Hall, Dame Patsy and Sir David went to St George's Hospital for the official opening of the Cressy Wing. The Wing completes the hospital's extensive rebuild programme that was required after the Canterbury earthquakes.
The Cressy Wing includes operating theatres, a laundry, an efficient energy centre and a maternity ward.
Congratulations to the 11 recipients who received the insignia of their honours at a ceremony in Christchurch this morning. Amongst them were HamiltonJet Chairman and Technical Director Mike Hamilton, recognised for services to marine engineering and business and top police officer Inspector Kieren Kortegast. Thank you all for the contribution you have made to your communities and to Aotearoa New Zealand
In February, a scheduled visit to Bluff's Te Rau Aroha Marae was postponed because of Level Two protocols around the size of public gatherings.
After a very special trip to Whenua Hou yesterday to see the kakapo programme in action, which included meeting a five-year old kakapo named Ian, Dame Patsy and Sir David were welcomed at Te Rau Aroha Marae this morning.
Te Rau Aroha is our southern-most marae and is renowned for its unusual octaganal shape (based on on whare-rau - leaf covered dwellings) and the remarkable carvings, sculpture and decorations designed by Cliff Whiting.
Today Dame Patsy recalled the Ngai Tahu Marae she has visited in her term, and acknowledged the opportunities those visits have given her to learn about New Zealand history. Today Dame Patsy also presented Muriel Johnstone with her insignia for an MNZM, visited the local early learning centre and toured the marae vegetable gardens.
To contend with the crisp Wellington weather, Dame Patsy hosted a smaller (warmer) credentials ceremony inside for new Ambassadors and High Commissioners this morning. Presenting their letters of credence were Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica HE Mr Armando Vargas Araya, High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana HE Dr Joseph Nii Sai Coffie-Agoe, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic HE Mr George Papakostas and High Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Nigeria HE Mr Anderson Nkemakonam Madubike.
Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a meeting of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs at Victoria University. Dame Patsy spoke to an audience of NZIIA members and members of the Diplomatic Corps about the international aspect of the Governor-General's role.
The work the Child Cancer Foundation does is so important to families going through an incredibly stressful time. The driving force behind the fantastic work foundation does are people who generously give their time, knowledge and skills – many in a volunteer capacity. This afternoon Dame Patsy presented four Child Cancer Foundation Honorary Life Membership Awards to recognise the years of service each recipient has given to the foundation and the children they support.
The work each recipient has done ranged from governance expertise, securing buildings for the Foundation after the Christchurch Earthquakes to direct family support.
Earlier in the year, Dame Patsy and Sir David truly enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Aotearoa Art Fair in Auckland. This evening they returned the favour and thanked the “engine room” of people who made the five-day experience a success. The Aotearoa Art Fair (formerly the Auckland Art Fair) highlights contemporary art by bringing together dealer galleries and artists in one space, and is a great opportunity for new artists to showcase their work alongside established names.
Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted staff and supporters of Wellington's City Mission to hear about the Mission's exciting new project, Whakamaru, which will be a community hub in Newtown. When Whakamaru is completed in two years' time, it will incorporate a community cafe, social supermarket and 35 supported living units. Murray Edridge, Wellington City Missioner noted the heavy demands on the Mission's services from a broad sector of society, and said "The time is always right to do what is right".
Dame Patsy formally opened Te Papa's magnificent exhibition of surrealist art from Rotterdam's Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The 180 works include sculpture, film, paintings, drawings, books, and decorative arts by leading surrealists, including Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Luis Bunuel, Rene Magritte and Leonora Carrington. The last significant Surrealist exhibition in New Zealand was in 1970. It is the first time the works in the current exhibition have been shown here.
Day Three saw Dame Patsy and Sir David lay a wreath at the National War Memorial and visit the museum before heading to the Australian Defence College to meet New Zealand staff and students. The day ended with a visit to the National Portrait Gallery.
On Saturday Dame Patsy and Sir David departed for Hobart where they visited MONA- The Museum of Old and New Art and the Australian Antarctic Division. The evening was spent at Hobarts grand Government House, where a roaming supper featuring Tasmanian produce as well as treats from the Government House gardens was staged.
This morning Dame Patsy received the credentials of new diplomatic envoys to New Zealand: HE Mr Chann Rotana, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia; HE Ms Satu Mattila-Budich, Ambassador of the Republic of Finland; HE Mr Merzak Belhimeur, Ambassador of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria; HE Ms Dorcas Makgato, High Commissioner of the Republic of Botswana; and HE Ms Pernille Dahler Kardel, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a dinner this evening to thank some of the many people who have contributed to the new Wellington Children’s Hospital, which is nearing its final stages of completion.
The stories of the guests attending showed what a fantastic community effort the construction of the new hospital has been. Bill Day, Chair of the Wellington Hospitals Foundation, took the time to thank the many people who had contributed to the new building Among them was Nicolas Volpicelli-Muollo, the Scots College student who successfully fundraised over $50 000 to buy smart TVs to go in the new rooms, and Sue Burnett-Grimwood from Busy Bees Quilters, whose team gift treasured blankets to neonatal babies. Wellington philanthropists Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood also attended this evening; the pair generously donated $50 million towards the construction of the building.
The new hospital, named Te Wao Nui, will care for an estimated 87 000 children each year. It will feature a Weta Workshop-designed mural of a tree of life.
On Saturday Dame Patsy travelled to Whangara to present Professor Sir Derek Lardelli with the insignia for his knighthood. The powhiri featured spectacular kapa haka and waiata by hundreds of people, some of whom had travelled from around New Zealand to attend the ceremony. Sir Derek was honoured for his outstanding achievements as a tā moko artist, visual artist, kapa haka performer, orator, composer, graphic designer, researcher, cultural consultant and educationalist. Following the ceremony, Dame Patsy opened an exhibition of artworks in Whitireia, the wharenui at Whangara.
Government House was lit up for the return of Matairangi Mahi Toi Artist in Residence Troy Kingi with a preview of his new album "Black Sea, Golden Ladder'.
Created during his residency at Government House, the album is a series of songs about the experiences we all share - birth, love, work, growing old and death.
Number five in Troy's 10-10-10 project of 10 albums in 10 genres in 10 years, 'Black Sea, Golden Ladder' heads off in a folky direction, with collaborator Delaney Davidson providing a touch of country. Special guest choir Ka Hao came onstage at the end, adding a beautiful vocal backdrop for the finale.
Thank you Troy, Delaney and friends for a great show. The album drops at the beginning of June.
Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David attended celebrations to mark 25 years of tenancy of the Old Government Buildings by Victoria University of Wellington's Law Faculty. Dame Patsy spoke to an audience of eminent alumni, current staff and students, reflecting on her own experiences as a student and lecturer there, developments in New Zealand law over the last 25 years, and her thoughts on future developments.
Dame Patsy hosted a reception to mark Whānau Āwhina Plunket's 114th birthday and International Nurses Day. Dame Patsy helped unveil a portrait of Plunket's wahine toa Mere Harper and Ria Tikini, two midwives who worked closely with Dr Truby-King and were instrumental in the foundation of Plunket. Among the guests were David Ellison and Ros Ellison, the son and grandaughter of the very first Whānau Āwhina Plunket baby Thomas Rangiwahia Mutu Ellison.
Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted Trustees and supporters of Te Papa Foundation for a tour of selected rooms at Government House, focussing on the art, furniture and interior design elements.
Te Papa Foundation was established to support Te Papa's kaupapa as New Zealand's premier cultural institution. Donors to the Foundation have enabled Te Papa to add new features, extend its outreach to schools, and purchase new works.
Friday afternoon closed the Wellington New Year 2021 investiture ceremonies, with 14 recipients receiving their honours. Celebrated author Elizabeth Knox received a CNZM for services to literature and playwright Victor Roger was awarded an ONZM.
Superintendent John Price also received an ONZM for service to New Zealand Police and the community. Superintendent Price led Canterbury Police response to the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, the 2017 Port Hills fire. He was also Forward Commander for the 2019 mosque shooting response and was Operation Commander during the Christchurch earthquakes.
Professor Dame Cindy Kiro was honoured for services to child wellbeing and education at this morning’s investiture ceremony. Dame Cindy was Children’s Commissioner and University of Auckland’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Māori) before becoming the first female Maori Chief Executive of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.
Leading epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker, a familiar face following his work as part of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group, received the insignia of an MNZM.