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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Credentials Ceremony, 22 August 2019

    This morning we were fortunate to have clear skies for the official welcome for new diplomatic envoys at Government House. HE Mr Sudesh Maniar, High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore, HE Mr Stefan Krawielicki, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and HE Mr Tomas Ferko, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic were welcomed with a powhiri, before presenting their credentials to Dame Patsy.

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    Image of Dame Patsy with HE Mr Sudesh Maniar, High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore
    HE Mr Stefan Krawielicki greeting a member of the cultural party

    IMage of Dame Patsy and Sir David with HE Mr Tomas Ferko, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic, his wife and children and Minster of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Hon Ron Mark

  • 25 Years Changing Lives - Duffy Books in Homes

    Children were front and centre at a reception celebrating 25 years of the Duffy Books in Homes programme. Stemming from an encounter author Alan Duff had with a group of children who didn't own books, Duffy Books in Homes will give out it's 13 millionth book this year - that's more books than are held in the entire New Zealand library system.

    Amongst the speakers was one of the first people to receive a Duffy book, Charles Ropitini. A former opera singer who now works for Napier City Council, Charles told guests how the book he received was the first thing that had ever solely belonged to him and spoke movingly of how illiteracy closes down people's opportunities.

    The stars of the night were the students from St Anne's School who sang the Duffy song and did some kapa haka.

    Image of Dame Patsy hanging out with the St Anne's School students
    Image of Dame Patsy and Alan Duff
  • Morning tea for Gandhi Nivas

    This morning Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted Gandhi Nivas staff, counsellors, researchers and Police liaison at Government House Auckland.

    Gandhi Nivas offers early intervention programmes to prevent the escalation of family violence, working on the principle that it is better to have a fence at the top of the cliff rather than at the bottom. Gandhi Nivas operates three houses in the Auckland region, where men are offered accommodation and counselling 24/7, while their families back in the family home are also offered support.

    Massey researchers have been following the programme closely and the results are very promising. It is hoped that the model can be applied in other regions in New Zealand.

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    Guests at the morning tea for Gandhi Nivas
  • Foundation North Tohu Autaia

    Last night Dame Patsy hosted Foundation North's inaugural Tohu Autaia - Community Stars- at Government House Auckland. Foundation North has established the awards as a way of celebrating a billion dollars returned to communities in Auckland and Northland.

    The recipients, who all work for not-for-profits, have received funding from Foundation North for initiatives that have had a positive impact in their communities, socially, educationally, culturally, in sporting activities and in the environment.

    Speech transcript 

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  • SPCA Giving Hearts Legacy Programme

    This morning Dame Patsy was the first member of the SPCA's new Giving Hearts legacy programme to have the privilege of naming a rescue animal - in this case, a foxy-chihuahua cross - which she named Coco after her own dog.

    The SPCA receives approximately a third of its income from bequests - and Giving Hearts donors will ensure that their vital work to assist 40,000 animals annually can continue.

    SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen noted that education programmes for children, now in over half our primary and intermediate schools, are aimed at developing a new generation of New Zealanders who understand their responsibilities to look after animals in their care. 

    Speech transcript

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    Dame Patsy presenting Coco to her new owners, Ann and Amy Luxton
  • Bold Steps for Young Women

    Today we welcomed year 13 students from secondary schools in the Auckland region who had spent the rest of the day as guests of On Being Bold, a network of high-achieving women.

    On Being Bold's goal is to empower women to develop their potential, particularly in the workplace. We wish all the young women we met today all the very best with their next bold steps into adulthood, further study and the world of work.

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    Speech transcript

      

    Dame Patsy and guests at the Bold Steps afternoon tea
  • Malvina Major Foundation Concert 2019

    The Malvina Major Foundation assists emerging talent in New Zealand through an emerging artists programme, in partnership with NZ Opera; a Young Artist or Fellowship programme, which offers more experienced singers a principal role in a New Zealand Opera production; prize money in the Lexus Song Quest; and the Arts Excellence Awards, which support overseas study for young performing artists.

    Yesterday's concert at Government House showcased the virtuoso talent of two emerging singers, Michaela Cadwgan and Lj Crichton, along with established stars Wade Kernot and Emma Pearson, all accompanied by Bruce Greenfield, who has been performing at Government House since Lord Cobham was Governor-General (1957-62).

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    Speech transcript

  • Colin McCahon Centenary

    The centenary of Colin McCahon's birth is being marked by a series of events around New Zealand. Government House's reception last night was held 100 years to the day of his birth, and we were privileged to have three of his works on display.

    In addition, three of our eminent artists, Dame Robin White, Shane Cotton, and Eve Armstrong spoke with great eloquence about the impact of McCahon's work as a painter, teacher, curator and writer on their own art practice.

    Some of their own work was also temporarily on display, and a Shane Cotton painting, Whakapiri atu te whenua has been loaned by Te Papa for longer-term display in Government House's ballroom.

    Speech transcript

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  • Launch of Te Wiki o te Reo Maori

    On 1 August, 1987, te Reo Maori became an official language of New Zealand. Today, 32 years later, Dame Patsy officially launched Te Wiki o te Reo Maori 2019 at the Wharewaka on Wellington's waterfront. Dame Patsy joined Pere Wihongi as Ambassadors for Maori Language Week this year, and fellow Ambassador, Guyon Espiner joined by video. Dame Tariana Turia and Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Maori Development helped Dame Patsy cut the celebration cake.

    Preparations are now underway for another fantastic Te Wiki o te Reo Maori, from the 9th to the 15th of September. Kia kaha te reo Maori!

    Speech transcript

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    Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Patsy and Hon Nanaia Mahuta cutting the celebratory cake
  • Bay of Plenty Visit Day Three

    It was Rotorua's chance to shine with a stunning welcome at Te Papaiouru Marae. A particular highlight was the magnificent performances of the Rotorua Girls' and Boys' High School kapa haka group.

    A tour of the carving and weaving schools at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia was next up, offering a fascinating look at wood and bone carving, brass casting and flax weaving.

    The final event of Day Three was a community reception, again at Te Puia, with everyone relishing the opportunity to chat to Dame Patsy and Sir David as well as others from their community.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Mayor Steve Chadwick

  • Bay of Plenty Visit- Day Two

    Dame Patsy was welcomed at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane this morning, where she got to grips with robotics in the Robopa, before seeing some demonstrations of the cutting edge tech being used to train nursing students. The demos at the nursing school included a very hands on resuscitation, with Dame Patsy helping out.

    State of the at technology is key for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, whose aim is to provide education with a Maori focus. The Robopa travels around giving students the opportunity for hands-on work with robotics while the nursing school is the only one in New Zealand to give all students access to hololens technology

    Later that day, Dame Patsy and Sir David had the chance to say thank you to the organisations they've visited so far at a special reception at the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service building. We've loaded a few shots of the guests in our image gallery

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    Image of students and staff singing at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David arriving for the community stakeholders reception

  • Bay of Plenty Visit Day One

    The weather and the welcome couldn't have been warmer in Tauranga as Dame Patsy and Sir David began a four day visit to the Bay of Plenty region.

    The powhiri for Dame Patsy took place at Huria Marae, which had speacial meaning for her due to her work as Chief Crown Negotiator for Treaty Settlements. Dame Patsy paid tribute to the people she had worked with, some of whom had since passed on and also introduced Sir David to the iwi of Tauranga Moana for the first time.

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the people of Huria Marae

    Event two was the opening of The Kollective, a co-working space targeting not-for-profit and social enterprises. The building's environmental and design consciousness has seen the use of innovative ways of dampening noise and new tools like toner recoverable photocopiers.

    Image of Dame Patsy and carver Whare Thomson

    The last stop of the day was the new headquarters of the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service. An institution at The Mount, the service had outgrown it's previous premises. The new building looks set to see them past their 90th anniversary this year and well into a century of saving lives.

    Image of Surf Lifeguard Olive Pearce and Dame Patsy unveiling the plaque

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    Huria Marae speech

    The Kollective speech

    Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service speech

  • Sir Edmund Hillary Centenary

    On Wednesday night this week, the Himalayan Trust hosted a gala dinner to mark the centenary of Sir Edmund Hillary's birth. The Trust was founded by Sir Ed in the 1960s and has focussed on providing education, health care and infrastructure to remote regions in Nepal. Sir Ed was able to capitalise on his fame as the conqueror of Everest and his Antarctic exploits to raise funds for the Trust's projects, which have transformed the lives of generations of Nepalese people. Dame Patsy, Peter Hillary and Sir Ranulph Fiennes spoke at the dinner.

    Speech transcript

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  • Te Te Huringa o Te Tai o Nga Wahine afternoon tea

    Dame Patsy has supported Te Te Huringa o Te Tai o Nga Wahine, a programme for Maori girls in Otara, for the last three years, but this is the first time the girls, the volunteers, committee members and Police mentors have come to Government House. Today's afternoon tea was a chance to hear from the 2019 wahine about what the programme is achieving for them. We wish them every success as they pursue their dreams for the future.  

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    Dame Patsy with Te Huringa o Te Tai o Nga Wahine students, mentors and board members
  • Visit to GridAKL

    Dame Patsy visited GridAKL in the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct this afternoon to see how ATEED, Auckland's economic development agency is facilitating innovation, sustainability measures, and start-ups. 

    We saw how the shared spaces of start-ups encourage multiple joint projects, and heard about the expansion of the screen sector, where there are several major projects in the pipeline.

    Spark's 5G lab gave a taster of the exciting possibilities afforded by 5G technology.

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  • NZ On Air's 30th Birthday celebrations

    Last night's reception for NZ On Air celebrated its role in bringing New Zealand culture to our screens and airwaves over the last 30 years. A montage of television programmes and films reminded us of the huge range of content that their unique funding model has made possible, and the stellar performances by the evening's Supergroup of Che Fu, Nathan King, Julia Deans, Jason Kerrison, Laughton Kora, Jason Faafoi and Hon Kris Faafoi affirmed the role that NZ On Air has played in the careers of New Zealanders working in the cultural sector.

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    Speech Transcript 

    Dame Patsy and NZ On Air's Supergroup
  • 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

    Youth Parliament 2019 speech

    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

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