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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Secondary School Holidays

    Dame Patsy has had a couple of opportunities to meet some of our most talented rangatahi during the school holidays.

    Last week, she caught up with the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir and this morning she opened Youth Parliamant 2019.

    NZ Secondary Students' Choir 

    Youth Parliament 2019

    Image if the NZSCC choir in action

    Image of a group photo being taken

  • Aotearoa Circle Hui

    Leaders of public sector agencies, NGOs and the private sector have come together as partners to form the Aotearoa Circle, which will address critical sustainability issues in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

    It's an exciting opportunity to combine cross-sector expertise and resources to find lasting solutions to the decline in our natural capital. Today's hui at Government House was an opportunity to share ideas about some of the Aotearoa's domains of interest: sustainable finance, land and soil, fresh water,  climate change, biodiversity and the marine environment.

    The hui welcomed four new partners.  We wish the Aotearoa Circle all the very best with the upcoming work-plans.

    Speech transcript

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    Dame Patsy and Aotearoa Circle Co-Chair, Sir Rob Fenwick
    Dame Patsy with Fraser Whineray
  • Diversity dinner

    Three inspiring speakers, expressing three very different perspectives on the topics of diversity and inclusion captivated tonight's guests at a dinner in celebration of diversity in 21st century New Zealand.

    Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt reflected on the work still to be done to address racism, discrimination and the gap between rich and poor, noting that some of our citizens have yet to achieve the rights identified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Elisha Watson, founder of Nisa Clothing, spoke about the huge challenges refugee women encounter when it comes to finding employment, and Mika spoke about the journey to inclusion for members of the LGBTQ community, disenfranchised youth and people with mental health issues.

    Dame Patsy invited her guests to consider how they could become allies for diversity.

    Speech transcript

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  • Halberg Foundation Youth Council

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted the members of the Halberg Foundation Youth Council at a morning tea at Government House in Wellington. The ten-member Council is a voice for youth with physical disabilites and were in Wellington for meetings and training.

    Council member Kiran Dixon spoke of the need to "pave a way to the future where the world is inclusive. By working together we can ensure the world is better for the next generation so they don't have to face the same challenges."

    Image of Kiran Dixon speaking

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the members of the Halberg Foundation Youth Council

     

  • KiMuaNZ Reception

    "I stand as one. I come as many" was the refrain in presentations about the impact of global warming in the Pacific at the KiMuaNZ reception this evening. Young men and women, some from Aotearoa, but mainly from other Pacific Islands (Tonga, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Niue, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tokelau, and the Solomon Islands) have spent three days in a workshop organised by the McGuiness Institute, in conjunction with Treasury.

    Their calls for action were impassioned, as they spoke about what the possible loss of their homelands to rising sea levels would mean for the survival of their cultures and languages.

    Media Collection

    Speech transcript

    The KiMuaNZ waiata was sung at the conclusion of the presentations
  • Swearing-in of a new Minister

    Dame Patsy officiated at the swearing-in of new Minister, Hon Poto Williams at Government House in Wellington. Minister Williams is the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector and is also Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Immigration and Social Development.

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  • Quadrangular Tournament Schools' Visit

    Rugby players taking part in the 93rd Quadrangular Tournament visited Government House today. Wellington College, Wanganui Collegiate, Nelson College and Christ's College First XV teams take part in the tournament every year, and when it is staged in Wellington, the players traditionally visit Government House for afternoon tea and a tour of the House.

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  • Dark Skies Experience opening and Mt John Observatory

    Dame Patsy was on ribbon-cutting duties at the new Dark Sky Experience attraction in Takapō. A joint venture between Ngāi Tahu Tourism and astrotourism pioneers Graeme Murray and Hide Ozawa, the experience combines the science of the night skies with Maori star lore.

    Later that evening, Dame Patsy visited the Mt John Observatory for a lesson in the stars of the Southern sky and the work being done there by the University of Canterbury. 

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    Image of Dame Patsy  cutting the ribbon with Auntie Reita Matthews and Aunty Suzy Waaka.
    Image of view from Mt John Observatory

     

  • Visit to Okains Bay Museum

    Okains Bay Museum is located in a remote bay on Banks Peninsula. It was developed over many years by a keen collector of Maori and colonial artefacts, Murray Thacker. The Museum is now administered by a Trust, with the goal of curating the collection in such a way that it can tell the story of Maori and Pakeha settlement in the region.

    The collection is justly considered to be of national significance, and it would take hours to view it all and visit the numerous buildings located at the Museum site. 

    It was an absolute privilege to see such a stunning collection on display, and we wish the Trustees and Manager Ian Day all the very best with their ambitious plans to take the museum to the next level of presentation and conservation.

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  • Visit to Linwood Islamic Centre

    This morning Dame Patsy received a warm welcome at the Linwood Islamic Centre, where she met members of Christchurch's Muslim community. She expressed her sincere condolences for their loss, and welcomed the opportunity to hear how local families are faring, discuss outreach into the wider community, and to learn about their plans for the future.

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  • Credentials Ceremony 27 June 2019

    Three new diplomatic envoys presented their credentials to Dame Patsy this morning: HE Mr Mark Holowesko, the High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas; HE Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, the Apostolic Nuncio; and HE Professor Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda.

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    mge of HE Mr Mark Holowesko, High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas

    Dame Patsy and Hon Andrew Little with HE Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa

    Image of  HE Professor Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda,the High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda

     

     

  • New Zealand Youth Awards 2019

    Fourteen young New Zealanders have been chosen from their peers to receive this year's New Zealand Youth Awards. They are making a positive impact in diverse areas, including youth participation, social inclusion and environmental remediation and protection.

    Today, they are all in Wellington for a visit to national institutions of government, including Government House. They certainly impressed us with their dedication, humanity and aroha, and wish them all the best with their future goals.

     

  • Invitations closed for June, July, August and September

    We're heading into the busiest part of the year and the Governor-General's diary is looking very full. Regrettably we cannot accept any more invitations for June, July, August and September 2019.

    Find out more about hosting or being hosted by the Governor-General

     

  • Order of St John Investiture Ceremony, 16 June 2019

    On 15 June, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended an investiture ceremony for St John postulants at the Cathedral of St Paul's in Wellington. Dame Patsy is Prior of the Order in New Zealand.

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  • Red Cross "Taste of Cultures" dinner

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a fundraising dinner for the Red Cross to mark World Refugee Day. The food was based on the organisation's "Taste of Cultures' cookbook, which gathered together recipes and stories from former refugees now living in New Zealand. The dinner was cooked by guest chefs Pratheepan Neruraya from Sri Lanka; Veronica Montane from Chile and Hajar Masraeh from Iran, working alongside the Government House chefs.

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    Image of a guest at the dinner

    Image of Guest chef Pratheepan Neruraya from Sri Lanka plating up

  • Reception for Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP! Foundation

    Every year in New Zealand, one in three girls, one in six boys and one in two disabled people experience some form of sexual abuse. For Maori girls and women, the likelihood of sexual violence is twice as high as the general population.  The LBGTQI+ community is even more at risk.

    Last night's reception for Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP! Foundation at Government House brought together people who are determined to both help the victims of sexual abuse and bring about the social change required to eliminate this terrible scourge in our communities.

    Their commitment, courage and aroha was inspirational and we wish them every success with their mission.

    Image Gallery                 Speech Transcript

  • A visit to Zealandia

    Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary in the suburb of Karori in Wellington. Zealandia's 500-year vision is to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems to their pre-human state. So far, Zealandia has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.

    Zealandia's success has seen a rise in native birds across Wellington.The 'halo effect' has even seen kaka make their home in the Government House gardens.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with Zealandia Chief Executive Paul Atkins
    Image of a takahe feeding from a plastic container

     

  • Official Opening of Iqra Elementary School

    Members of the Muslim community celebrated the official opening of Iqra Elementary School's new premises in Auckland today. We were impressed by the children's and staff's use of English, Te Reo Maori and Arabic. Congratulations to all the people who have worked so hard to bring their vision of the school to reality, and we wish Principal Fatima Zaheed and her staff all the very best in the years ahead.

    Image Gallery           Speech transcript

     

    Iqra Elementary School students
  • Spend My Super Launch

    Sir David stood in for Dame Patsy at the launch of not for profit organisation Spend My Super at Government House in Auckland this evening.

    The brainchild of former social worker Liz Grieve, Spend My Super encourages New Zealanders to donate all or part of their superannuation to support great New Zealand charities including Pillars, which helps children affected by having a parent in prison; Child Poverty Action group and KidsCan.

    Find out more about Spend My Super

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    Image of Sir David with Spend My Super founder Liz Grieve and CEO Sarah Trotman

    Image of guests at the reception

     

  • D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations

    Dame Patsy represented New Zealand at the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of D-Day at Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. As well as attending the official ceremony, she had the opportunity to meet with leaders of 15 other nations as well as Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince of Wales. 

    Later, she attended a special lunch for D-Day veterans.

    Image of the leaders attending the commemorations
    Image of Dame Patsy with a D-Day veteran at the veteran's lunch

  • Otago 150 Commemorations

    Otago University, our oldest university, is celebrating 150 years this year. It took just 29 years from the arrival of the first Scots settlers till the University was opened in 1869. It now has over 20,000 students and as Dame Patsy said, is the beating heart of Dunedin.

    Today Dame Patsy attended a special convocation ceremony, where Honorary Doctor of Law degrees were conferred on Emeritus Professor Atholl Anderson, Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton, Sir Bill English and Brigid Inder.

    A spectacular fireworks display in the early evening was followed by a celebration dinner in the Town Hall.

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    Speech transcript

  • Te Runanga o Otakou Marae

    Te Runanga o Otakou Marae is situated in a spectacular setting near the mouth of Otago Harbour. It was there that two Ngai Tahu chiefs signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in June 1840. Next to the wharenui there is a church built in 1940 to mark the centenary of the Treaty signing.

    During today's visit to the marae, Kaumatua Edward Ellison and Dame Patsy both spoke about the connections forged between Ngai Tahu and the Crown that persist to this day.

    We were privileged to be entertained with a series of waiata performed in impeccable style by students from Kings High School and Queens High School.

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    Speech transcript

  • Dunedin visit: Tuhura, Otago Museum, and the Royal Albatross Centre

    Protection of the natural world and innovative research was a strong theme in today's visits to the Otago Museum and the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head. The impact of global heating on Antarctica, and subsequent sea rise was the subject of an extremely informative film screened at the Museum's planetarium, and it was a delight to be able to see multi-coloured tropical butterflies in the rainforest.

    The years of research into the life-cycles of albatrosses and predator control have certainly paid off at Taiaroa Head. Other threatened species of seabirds have also found a haven there, including shags, gulls, spoonbills, penguins and herons. Seals, sea-lions and elephant seals have also flourished in the wildlife sanctuary.

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    Prof Piri Sciascia and Dame Patsy, who is holding a life-size model of an albatross chick
  • Christchurch visit

    Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Christchurch on Wednesday.

    First stop was  Blinc Innovation's 'Sustainable Protein: Healthy People & Planet' event at Tai Tapu near Christchurch.  Dame Patsy spoke of how New Zealand's innovative mindset and reputation for quality food products ideally places us to lead change

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the Blinc Innovation team - Toni Laming, CE; Steve Saunders, Director; Victoria Stark, Marketing & Development Manager; Carolyn Reid, Operations Manager; Katie Browning, Community & Events Manager.

    This was folowed by a visit to the Canterbury Museum to see the fascinating exhibition 'Breaking the Ice: The First Year in Antarctica" about the 1898-1900 Southern Cross expedition.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David also looked through the Museum's Antarctic gallery.

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    Image of Lizzie Meek, Antarctic Heritage Trust, Programme Manager- Antarctica with Dame Patsy and Sir David

  • New Zealand School's Debating Championships Grand Final 2019

    Dame Patsy spoke at and presented the prizes at the New Zealand School's Debating Championships Grand Final at Parliament today.

    Wellington Black and Auckland Blue were the finalists and the moot was "That this house will only allow female lawmakers to vote on women's health issues." 

    It was a close debate and Wellington Black were judged the winners by 3-2.

    Congratulations to everyone who competed over the weekend.

    More photos

    Image of Millie Caughey, First Speaker for Auckland Blue and judged Most Promising Speaker  of the competition

     

     

  • Jane Goodall Institute of New Zealand Reception

    Dame Pasty and Sir David hosted a reception for the Jane Goodall Institute at Government House. Guest of Honour Dr Jane Goodall's speech had the guests full attention and later she presented the inaugural Jane Goodall Trailblazer Awards to Chloe Swarbrick and Maha Fier.

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    Image of Chloe Swarbrick receiving her Jane Goodall Trailblazer Award
    Image of Mahi Fier of Paraparaumu College receiving the Roots and Shoots Trailblazer Award

  • Auckland Investitures Tuesday 21 May

    Congratulations to the recipients who received their insignia at Government House in Auckland today. Recipients included Jennifer Ward-Lealand for services to theatre, film and television; our Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh for services to poetry, literature and the Pacific community and Vic Tamati for services to the prevention of family violence

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    Dame Patsy and Sir David with all the recipients

  • Investiture Ceremonies, 20 May 2019

    Today there were two investiture ceremonies at Government House Auckland. The first was for The Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann, the Chief Justice of New Zealand. Dame Helen will be Administrator for the Government when Dame Patsy is unable to perform her duties as Governor-General.

    This afternoon's ceremony for ten honour recipients recognised outstanding contributions in community service, the wine industry, orchestral performance, support for people with multiple sclerosis, journalism, religious history, governance, the Pacific Community, women, and the Niuean community.

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  • Auckland Grammar 150th Commemorations

    Yesterday, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended two of Auckland Grammar's 27 events to mark the school's first 150 years. At a special assembly, Dame Patsy noted the long-standing association with the office of Governor and Governor-General, beginning with Sir George Grey's 1850 endowment to establish a grammar school. Their Excellencies then attended a cocktail function in an enormous marquee on the grounds, along with decades of Auckland Grammar Old Boys.

    Speech transcript

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    Principal Tim O'Connor escorting Dame Patsy and Sir David to the evening event
  • St Cuthbert's scholars assembly

    Today it seemed like all the students at St Cuthbert's turned out to welcome Dame Patsy when she arrived at the school. The younger students waved flags that they had made to symbolise love and diversity, the senior girls performed a haka, and then Dame Patsy addressed a scholar's assembly, where high achieving senior students received awards.

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    Speech Transcript

  • Investiture Auckland Thursday 16 May 2019

    Congratulations to all today's recipients for their work in human rights, design and business, rugby and rugby league, the LGBTIQ+ community, fashion, Cook Islands art and culture, athletics, and education. 

  • Auckland Investitures Wed 15 May

    Two more investiture ceremonies were held at Government House today.

    The morning saw  the arts, sport and science mix together with Dame Gaylene Preston, Dan Carter, Lydia Ko, Barbara Kendall and Glen Ashby receiving their insignia.

    The afternoon saw people honoured for services to Plunket, the State, governance, football, aviation, seniors, Maori health and development, children with genetic immune deficiency disorders, Asian communities and youth.

    Wednesday morning ceremony

    Wednesday afternoon ceremony

     

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