We commemorated Race Relations Day a few days early at Government House Auckland today. Our MC was 2017 Young New Zealander of the Year, Rez Gardi, and our theme was in support of the Human Right's Commission campaign: "Give Nothing to Racism".
This evening, Dame Patsy and Sir David are hosting Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand at a dinner at Government House to celebrate LBC's 40th year of operation. LBC plays a vital role in assisting the 21,000 New Zealanders living with a blood cancer, providing support,education, and advocacy, as well as funding vital research that will help identify causes and possible treatments. We wish them all the very best with their future work.
Last night Dame Patsy, as patron of the New Zealand Red Cross, presented Florence Nightingale Medals to three New Zealand nurses. The highest award in nursing, the medals are presented to Red Cross and Red Crescent nurses and others, who have shown exceptional courage and devotion to victims of armed conflict or natural disaster. Gail Corbett, Guru Dev Singh, and Barbara Turnbull are three of only thirty New Zealanders to receive the medal since it was instituted in 1912. Between them, the three have undertaken numerous Red Cross postings to places like Iraq, Gaza, Liberia and Afghanistan, with their work encompassing everything from managing hospitals to dealing with Ebola outbreaks.
Swiss Ambassador HE David Vogelsanger, a former Red Cross delegate himself, was also in attendance.
This evening Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a Commonwealth Day 2018 National Observance service at the Cathedral of St Paul in Wellington.
Dame Patsy read a message from Her Majesty the Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Hon Andrew Little read a message from the Prime Minister, and the service included readings from the Hindu, Islamic, Sikh, and Baha'i faiths.
Dame Patsy joined a panel discussion on leadership at the Auckland Town Hall for Auckland Council's International Women's Day celebration. The discussion covered a broad range of topics related to women in the workforce including paths to leadership and barriers to women's participation.
This evening, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended an International Women's Day cocktail event at The Sugar Club in Auckland, supporting the Otara Blue Light programme Turning the Tide.
The programme is aimed at young Maori and Pasifika women from Otara whose lives may be heading in the wrong direction. Guests at the evening were asked to donate time to the cause, instead of money, with donations ranging from work experience to career coaching.
The stars of the show were programme graduates Krystal Wineti and Caitlynne-marie Bishop Katting, who won hearts with their confidence and poise while being interviewed by MC Carol Hirschfield.
What a great way to start International Women's Day, by joining hundreds of guests at Zonta/UN Women NZ's breakfast at Parliament. Dame Patsy spoke about the responsibility of everyone to use their influence to keep alive the momentum for change and Helen Clark spoke about the low representation of women in positions of power internationally and the need to working on breaking the barriers that still exist for women.
Suffrage 125 was launched at Government House today in front of a crowd of women leaders, influencers and and public figures from all generations. Dame Patsy, Minister for Women Hon Julie Anne Genter and 2017 Young New Zealander of the Year Rez Gardi spoke and Lizzie Marvelly sang the National Anthem.
Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the re-opening of Wellington's City Gallery on Friday 2 March.
The Gallery had been closed since late last year as it underwent some alterations, including the installation of a new, more welcoming entranceway.
The first exhibition in the Gallery is "This Is New Zealand", a look at how New Zealand has been represented in our art and the truth (or otherwise) of those representations. Included in the exhibition are some of New Zealand's Venice Biennale artworks, including Michael Parakowhai's beloved piano sculpture He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river
This afternoon Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the launch of a new book Wanted: The Search for the Modernist Murals of E Mervyn Taylor at the City Gallery in Wellington. Dame Patsy has followed the progress of this project with interest since its inception, and was delighted to see the fully restored Te Ika-a-Maui, which has been a labour of love for the book's editor, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith.
Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the launch of the Superdiversity Centre's #myidentity campaign in Auckland.
The campaign celebrates and promotes the diversity of New Zealand's population and encourages people to upload videos of themselves describing the elements of their identity that are important to them.
On the final day of the Northland visit, Dame Patsy and Sir David met students and staff at the recently established QRC Tai Tokerau College in Paihia. The students obtain qualifications in hospitality, spending a proportion of their time in internships. The goal is to provide training opportunities, particularly for local people, and to meet the needs of the rapidly growing tourism sector in the Far North.
In the afternoon, Dame Patsy and Sir David spent time at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, including the magnificent Whare Runanga, the Treaty House, and the Museum, where the displays and taonga provide a vivid introduction to the story of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Finally, a reception in the Treaty Grounds provided an opportunity to meet local residents and thank the people who hosted Dame Patsy and Sir David, and helped to make their time in the Far North so memorable.
Conservation and heritage were the focuses of the second day of the regional visit to Northland. Dame Patsy and Sir David went by ferry to Urupukapuka Island, a picturesque jewel in the Bay of Islands. It was a chance to learn more about pre-European history and first contact between Europeans and Maori in the region, and to find out about Project Island Birdsong from DoC ranger Andrew Blanshard, Richard Robbins and Viki Rewha. Andrew's rat-catching dog Tike monitors the presence of rats to ensure that the island remains predator-free. Reintroduced birds are flourishing, including saddleback, robins, kiwi, brown teal, dottrels, morepork and kakariki.
In the afternoon, Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Pompellier House, one of New Zealand's most important and esteemed heritage properties, where 40,000 hymnal and prayer books in Te Reo were printed at the instigation of Bishop Pompellier in the 1830s and 1840s. Russell Primary School students were on hand to act as tour guides as we moved through the various rooms of the house, learning about the painstaking work required at each stage of the printing and binding of the books, including the tanning of leather for the covers. Dame Patsy and Sir David learnt about how the printing press was presented to Kingi Tawhaio, and gifted back to Pompellier House by his descendant, Dame Te Atairangikaahu.
The students then entertained Dame Patsy and Sir David with their band, which featured saxophones, ukeleles, and drums.
Kaitaia was the focus of the first day of the visit of Dame Patsy and Sir David to Northland, and they were very impressed with the warmth of the welcome they received at all six engagements.
A powhiri at Te Ahu Centre was followed by a citizenship ceremony for 17 new New Zealanders. The Murray whanau welcomed them next to Kai Ora Honey, one of a number of whanau-based honey operations in the Far North. Kai Ora Honey produces high quality manuka honey, mainly for the export market, and is constantly looking for new ways to use honey to create niche products.
Kaitaia Primary School students welcomed Their Excellencies with a powhiri and visits to two classrooms, and then the next stop was the He Korowai Trust, where Ricky Houghton and his colleagues are transforming lives with housing and employment initiatives.
The final stop was to the Moko Foundation, where Dr Lance O'Sullivan and his team are revolutionising health care for children, using digital technology to allow greater access.
This evening Dame Patsy and Sir David joined thousands of people on the waterfront to see the spectacular launch to the 2018 New Zealand Festival: Kupe - a Waka Odyssey, which featured waka, approximately 1000 children performing kapa haka, a choir, singer Maisie Rika and a soundscape by Warren Maxwell.
On this 7th anniversary of the devastating Christchurch earthquake, our thoughts are with the people of Christchurch, particularly those who have experienced personal loss. We hope that communities will find solace and strength by gathering together in remembrance today.
Scouts NZ marked Founders Day and 110 years of scouting in this country with a special celebration at Government House this evening. Highlights included an inspiring address by Kate Te Wano, a young woman who came to scouting late and had to overcome many challenges but who credits the organisation with putting her on the path to her current career in the RNZAF; and the announcement of the Scouting Opportunity Fund, to help dismantle the financial barriers for young people wishing to get involved with scouts. Congratulations on 110 years of achievement, Scouts NZ!
Today was an opportunity to support Dame Patsy's strategic focuses of creativity, innovation, leadership and diversity with a forum at Government House. The topic was diversity in the digital world, and the two guest speakers were Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Lisa Reihana.
Dr Wiles is a biologist who is interested in making science more accessible - and that includes making scientific findings more readily available on the internet. Lisa Reihana is an artist who works primarily in photography and video. Her renowned work, entitled Emissaries, is now touring various countries following its installation at the Venice Biennale.
The attendees at the Forum today included delegates to the D5 Summit in Wellington, which currently represents five nations with a strong focus on providing government services digitally: New Zealand, the UK, South Korea, Estonia and Israel.
Last night, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the launch of the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation at the Supreme Court. The Foundation was established by the late Judge Ian Borrin to support legal research, education and scholarship in New Zealand, and is named in honour of his parents. It will be supported by a $38 million bequest from Judge Borrin.
On 13 February Dame Patsy received a call from HE Mr Orhan Tavli, Governor of Canakkale, Mr Ismail Kasdemir, President of the Gallipoli Historical Park Directorate, and HE Mr Ahmet Ergin, the Turkish Ambassador.
On Saturday night, Dame Patsy and Sir David held a reception at Government House for Gold Award recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh International Awards. The recipients, who had attended ceremonies earlier in the day at Government House, came from around New Zealand, and attended the reception with their proud parents.
Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a magnificent performance of Eglantyne, written and performed by Anne Chamberlain. The play celebrates the life of Eglantyne Jebbs, co-founder of Save the Children, and writer of the Declaration of the Rights of Children, the fore-runner of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The performance also marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Save the Children in New Zealand.
The annual Waitangi Day Bledisloe Reception was held at Government House Auckland this year. Dame Patsy and Sir David were joined by 750 guests, including the Prime Minister and members of the Diplomatic Corps. The sun shone, and the cruisy jazz from the RNZAF Air Force Band, stunning Kapa Haka from Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi Marae and the performance of singer Nadia Reid all made it a very special afternoon.
Today Dame Patsy received the credentials of the British High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Laura Mary Clarke; The High Commissioner of the Republic of Vanuatu, His Excellency Mr Johnson Naviti; the High Commissioner of Malaysia, Her Excellency Ms Nur Izzah Wong Mee Choo; The High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa, Her Excellency Ms Vuyiswa Tulelo; The Ambassador of Ecuador, His Excellency Mr Juan Rodrigo Salazar Sancisi; and The High Commissioner of the Republic of Mauritius, Her Excellency Ms Christelle Sohun.
In 1858, a ceremony was held at Maiki Hill to celebrate a new flagstaff, erected by Northern Maori as a gesture of goodwill and reconciliation, 12 years after the war between British forces and allied Northern tribes. Governor Gore-Brown declined an invitation to attend that day, but Dame Patsy and Sir David were on hand today to celebrate the flagstaff's 160th anniversary and to meet descendants of the great military strategist and rangatira, Kawiti, and of other rangatira who raised the funds required for a flagstaff to replace the earlier flagstaffs, repeatedly felled by Hone Heke as a protest against the actions of the colonial government. Dame Patsy was introduced to Te Raumoa Kawiti, a descendant of Maihi Paraone Kawiti, who had brought a seal provided by Governor Gore-Brown to Kawiti. The name of the seal was Rongmau, meaning sealing the peace forever. Thereafter, Kawiti used the seal on his documents and letters.
Dame Patsy and Sir David were then warmly welcomed onto Haratu Marae, on the shorefront at Russell.
This morning Dame Patsy and Sir David visited the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington to see an impressive exhibition of portraits by Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947), one of New Zealand's foremost artists.
Frances Hodgkins is well-known for her still-life works, and this exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to see her evolving style and talent as a portrait artist, from early water-colours to works in pastels and oil later in her career.
Congratulations to all the outstanding New Zealanders acknowledged with New Year's Honours. We look forward to hosting them and their families at investiture ceremonies at Government House Wellington and Government House Auckland in May. The full list of recipients is available on the Cabinet Office webpage https://www.dpmc.govt.nz/publications/new-year-honours-list-2018
This afternoon, Israeli Ambassador Dr Itzhak Gerberg and wife Shifra called on Dame Patsy and Sir David to present a commemorative album of photos taken during the recent visit to Israel for the Beersheba commemorations.