On Thursday, in a very special ceremony held at Government House Auckland, the Governor-General was invested as Dame of Justice of St John and installed as the Prior of St John, while Dr Davies was invested as an Officer of St John.
The investiture service for a new Prior would usually take place in the United Kingdom with the Duke of Gloucester in attendance. However, with Dame Cindy unable to travel overseas last year, this was the first time the service has taken place in New Zealand. The service included a karakia, short welcome and address by John Whitehead, Chancellor of St John, the investiture of both Dame Cindy and Dr Davies, followed by the installation of Dame Cindy.
The Order of St John is an ancient, international organisation, which operates in New Zealand to meet the health and wellbeing needs of New Zealanders. St John comprises both a paid and volunteer workforce, and helps in areas as diverse as an emergency ambulance service, modern emergency call centre, medical alarms, first aid training and kits, health shuttle services, a youth programme, caring callers, hospital volunteers, opportunity shops, and pet therapy.
The Prior is the head of the Order, and the role provides a unique opportunity for the Governor-General to be a part of one of the most respected and far-reaching organisations in New Zealand. Dr Davies will also serve St John as the Patron of Community Health Services.