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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Order of New Zealand dinner 2022

    Jim Bolger and Helen Clark
    This evening, Dame Cindy hosted a very special dinner for members of the Order of New Zealand, which is New Zealand’s highest honour. Members have achieved to the highest level in their respective fields – each have made significant contributions to Aotearoa’s cultural, social and political landscapes. The Order of New Zealand consists of no more than 20 living New Zealanders at one time, with additional members awarded the honour to commemorate events of significance. In honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, Dame Silvia Cartwright and Sir Tipene O’Regan were made additional members earlier this year.

    Attendees also included former Prime Ministers Helen Clark and Jim Bolger, author Joy Cowley, theologian Professor Sir Lloyd Geering and poet Professor Albert Wendt.

    The evening also served as a welcome for Rachel Hayward, the new Secretary and Registrar of the Order of New Zealand; the New Zealand Order of Merit; and the Queen’s Service Order. King Charles III approved Ms Hayward’s appointment to these roles on the 28th of November 2022.

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    Dame Cindy's speech

    Dame Cindy Kiro with members of the Order of New Zealand

  • Sir Murray Halberg ONZ

    We acknowledge today the sad news of the passing of Sir Murray Halberg. Sir Murray's outstanding athletics career was highlighted by his winning the gold medal in the 5,000 metres at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960. Following his retirement from running, Sir Murray founded the Halberg Foundation – an organisation which supports physically disabled young people to participate in sport. In the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours, Sir Murray was appointed to the Order of New Zealand – New Zealand's highest honour. We extend our condolences to Sir Murray's family and friends, and all who knew this extraordinary New Zealander.

  • Excellence In Foster Care Awards 2022

    This afternoon, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies welcomed the recipients of the Caring Families Aotearoa Excellence in Foster Care Awards. Each recipient has gone above and beyond in their vital roles as foster carers, taking in at-risk young people and providing them with a nurturing, secure environment to grow up in. The recipients’ stories are truly inspirational, demonstrating the dedication, love and support they bring to the young children in their care. The reception also featured an amazing performance by Te Aro Kapa Haka.

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    Andreas and Maria Leinfellner stand as their citation is read out

  • Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Medal Presentation 2022

    This afternoon Dame Cindy presented Royal Humane Society of New Zealand medals to six recipients: Anna Brooke, Michael Smith, Henry Deans and Jeffrey Davies for their part in rescuing two trampers trapped on a mountain side; Paul Gerritson for rescuing two people from a burning car; and Naomi Gedye for the role she played in a hostage situation.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery

    Dame Cindy with Royal Humane Society NZ medal recipients Anna Brooke, Jeffrey Davies, Michael Smith and Henry Deans
  • Honorary Doctorate from Massey University

    Dame Cindy on Friday received an Honorary Doctorate in Health from her alma mater Massey University in Palmerston North. During her address to graduands in the beautiful Regent Theatre, Her Excellency said: 'We need critical-thinking, curious, empathetic people: to safeguard our democracy; to find solutions that will protect our planet and biodiversity; and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to lead free, happy, and healthy lives.' Congratulations to all of this week's graduates, and all the very best for your future.

    Dame Cindy receiving her Honorary Doctorate

    You can read Dame Cindy's address to graduands here, and find more images from the ceremony here.

  • Visit to Waikato and Cambridge Studs

    On Thursday, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited the Waikato and Cambridge Studs – two of New Zealand’s premier Thoroughbred nurseries, each carrying an international reputation for breeding excellence. While there, she met some of the resident stallions, including Savabeel – descendent of the legendary Sir Tristram. Queen Elizabeth II was patron of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Association for 32 years over the course of her reign. On a personal request during her tour to New Zealand in 1990, the Queen visited Cambridge Stud, where she was hosted by pioneering Thoroughbred breeder and trainer, Sir Patrick Hogan.

    Dame Cindy and Henry Plumpte inspecting Alamanzor

    You can find more images from the visit here.

  • Child Cancer Foundation Awards 2022

    Yesterday Dame Cindy and Dr Davies hosted a reception honouring a new Life Member of the Child Cancer Foundation, Karen Heslip. Dame Cindy also presented medals to Star Tamariki, children who have had cancer and tell their stories to give other child cancer sufferers hope and support.

    Image Gallery 

    Speech Transcript

    Jim Bolt, Karen Heslip and Dame Cindy
    Dame Cindy and the Star Tamariki
  • Waitemata Rowing Club

    Darcy Hadfield was the first New Zealander to win a medal at an Olympic Games. His bronze medal in the single sculls at the 1920 Antwerp Games set the bar for New Zealand rowers to emulate, and arguably started New Zealand's prominence in the sport.

    Yesterday Dame Cindy visited the Waitemata Rowing Club to join members of Darcy Hadfield's family and club members in celebrating Darcy's international rowing successes, and his contributions to the club, including coaching and putting his shipbuilding skills to the repair of equipment.

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    Speech transcript

  • Credentials Ceremony November 2022

    Dame Cindy welcomed seven new overseas representatives to New Zealand today: HE Mr Viktor Vavricka, Ambassador of Switzerland; HE Mr Chang-sik Kim, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea; HE Mr Areg Hovhannisian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia; HE Mr Kwacha Chisiza, High Commissioner for the Republic of Malawi; HE Mr Pontus Melander, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden; HE Mr Victor Arturo Cabrera Hidalgo, Ambassador of the Republic of Ecuador; and HE Mr John Tipis, High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya. The Royal New Zealand Air Force supplied the Māori cultural group, Guard of Honour, and band for the outside portion of the ceremonies on this beautiful Wellington day.

    HE Mr John Tipis, High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya, inspecting the Guard of Honour

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  • Launch of the Constitution of New Zealand

    Yesterday Dame Cindy was on hand to launch Justice Matthew Palmer and Dean Parker's new survey of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements "The Constitution of New Zealand". 

  • Regional visit to Timaru

    Dame Cindy Kiro and Ranui Ngarimu walk on to Arowhenua Marae

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies headed to South Canterbury for a regional visit to Timaru. Their Excellencies first engagement was a powhiri at Arowhenua Marae, which lies between the junction of the Temuka and Opihi Rivers. In her korero at the marae, Dame Cindy spoke of the extraordinary success Ngāi Tahu has had in protecting and enhancing its taonga, and creating opportunities for tamariki and whānau. Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited Arowhenua Māori School, where the young students performed a kapa haka.

    Dame Cindy visited Arowhenua Whānau Services – a Māori Health Provider providing a marae-based health clinic, mental health services and Tamariki Ora. To sum up the significant work they do for their community, it can be described in the whakatauki they in their clinic – “Me mahi tahi tātou mō te oranga o te katoa. We should work together for the wellbeing of everyone”.

    That evening, Their Excellencies host a reception for community leaders in the Timaru area, including some recent recipients of New Zealand Royal Honours.

    Dame Cindy Kiro and Dr Richard Davies looking at Māori rock art
    On the second day of the regional, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited one of the sites of extraordinary Māori rock art found across the South Canterbury region. Aside from the physical threats to these taonga, such as erosion and vandalism, one of the major challenges in keeping them protected is the lack of awareness of their very existence. Te Ana Māori Rock Art, the region’s rock art centre, operated by Ngāi Tahu, along with a team of wonderful volunteers, act as guardians of this fragile aspect of our national heritage, and work to encourage people to respect and conserve it for future generations. Despite the cold weather, it was a very special morning, spending time in the company of these works alive with the voices of our ancestors.

    Dr Davies inspecting seeds at Te Kete Tipuranga o Huirapa
    The day before, Dr Davies had been to Te Kete Tipuranga o Huirapa, which is a native nursery created by Arowhenua, that produces around 100 000 plants each year. It was wonderful to see this kaupapa in action, as many of the plants they grew were planted at Māori rock art sites - part of a project restoring the land to how it would have been hundreds of years ago when the rock art was created.

    After seeing the rock art, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies met with Presbyterian Support South Canterbury and some of the former refugee families making Timaru their home. PSSC Refugee Settlement Service provides settlement support to the refugees, linking them with community support and services, so that after a year, those families will have the knowledge and confidence to independently access and use mainstream services. PSSC, with its dedicated team of staff and volunteers, will be resettling up to 110 Syrian refugees per year over the next two and a half years.

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies meeting former refugees in South Canterbury

    The final engagement took Dame Cindy and Dr Davies to Maungati, just inland from Timaru, to see the newly unveiled Windhausen Land Girl Monument on the Rongomaraeroa Peace Walk. The monument commemorates the Women’s Land Service members, also known as ‘land girls’, who kept the country’s farms going while men fought overseas during World War II.

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  • Investiture ceremony for Dame Silvia Cartwright ONZ and Sir Tipene O'Regan ONZ

    Yesterday Dame Cindy presided at a ceremony at Government House where she awarded Dame Silvia Cartwright and Sir Tipene O'Regan insignia for their additional membership of the Order of New Zealand.

    Sir Tipene O'Regan, Dame Cindy and Dame Silvia Cartwright
    Dame Silvia Cartwright and Sir Tipene O'Regan
  • Christchurch Investitures 8 November 2022 PM

    For the final investiture in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Dame Cindy recognised seven further outstanding New Zealanders. Among them was Farid Ahmed, a survivor of the 2019 terrorist attacks who has since travelled nationally and internationally speaking about love, forgiveness and tolerance.

    Mairehe Tankersley, received an MNZM for her instrumental work in service to supporting prisoners’ welfare, and for providing tikanga Māori and cultural competency across education groups and social services. Kate Leebody received a QSM for her contributions to netball in Southland, and for services to her community. Warm congratulations to all of today’s recipients.

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    Ms Mairehe Tankersley, Dame Cindy Kiro

  • Christchurch Investiture 8 November 2022 AM

    This morning in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Dame Cindy held investitures for eight Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee honours recipients, including our most decorated para athlete, Dame Sophie Pascoe. Dame Sophie had her international debut in the pool at 13 years old. In her career so far, she has become a Paralympic champion, Commonwealth Games champion and world champion swimmer.

    Also among this morning’s recipients was Mr Yu-Shiun Tang, who received a QSM for services to the Chinese community. Mr Tang is a master calligrapher who has held exhibitions throughout Christchurch. He teaches calligraphy and tai chi to generations of others in the community. Congratulations to all this morning’s recipients.

    Dame Sophie Pascoe, DNZM, of Christchurch, for services to swimming

    You can find more images from the ceremony here.

  • Public Service Day Awards 2022

    Last night Government House celebrated Public Service Day by hosting Te Ra Ratonga Tumatanui Public Service Day Awards. The 34 public servants received their Public Service Medals from Dame Cindy, the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Grant Robertson and the Minister for the Public Service, Hon Chris Hipkins. The medals recognise people who exemplify the spirit of service and are making a real difference through their work for New Zealand and New Zealanders. Warm congratulations to all the recipients.

  • 2022 Rhodes Scholarship

    Our very warmest congratulations to this year's New Zealand Rhodes Scholars. Elliott Hughes, Maisy Bentley, and Oliver Sutcliffe's selection is not only testament to their outstanding academic careers so far, but also to their clear commitment to using their talents for the good of others. They, along with all the shortlisted candidates, will undoubtedly go on to achieve remarkable things, and help to make Aotearoa New Zealand a better place for future generations.

    Elliott Hughes, Maisy Bentley, Dame Jane Harding, Dame Cindy Kiro, and Oliver Sutcliffe'

  • Ngā Tohunga Whakatere: The Navigators

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited Space Place at Carter Observatory to see Ngā Tohunga Whakatere: The Navigators. The 3D film tells the story of how Māori, Pasifika and Europeans sailed to Aotearoa by relying on the skies as their guide. It tells this story through the eyes of Moko, a young girl learning how to navigate using the stars, as her tūpuna once did. Moko is played by young Wellington actress Reina Stephens, who co-stars with Lawrence Wharerau from Experience Wellington and our own Kaumātua, Joe Harawira.  

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    Dame Cindy Kiro, Dr Richard Davies and some of the Trustees of Experience Wellington

  • Rimu planting for the Platinum Jubilee

    Dr Davies visited Glenside’s historic Halfway House to plant a rimu in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. The heritage house and gardens can be found roughly at the halfway point between Wellington and Porirua, and was originally built in the 1840s as a coaching stop for travellers going between the two cities. The gardens are filled with pre-1900’s plants, in keeping with what would have been there when Halfway House was constructed.

    During Prince Alfred’s Royal visit to Aotearoa in 1869, Thomas Drake, who had connections to the historic building, gifted two trees to be planted at the site of the original Government House – where the Beehive is now located. Over 150 years later, Dr Davies was able to return the favour with this rimu. Ann Foster joined Dr Davies at the planting, with a heritage camelia in honour of her family connections to the area.

    The gardens are open to the public and are largely maintained by volunteers, you can read more about the gardens on their website.

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    Dr Richard Davies with the team who keep Halfway House running

  • Appointment of permanent Usher of the Black Rod

    Very warmest congratulations to Sandy McKie on her permanent appointment as Usher of the Black Rod – the first woman appointed to the role in New Zealand’s history. The Usher of the Black Rod acts as the Governor-General’s messenger for ceremonial communications with the House of Representatives, including to summon the House to hear the Speech from the Throne. Sandy was appointed acting Black Rod in October 2020, and we wish her all the very best in her new permanent role.

  • Queen's Park Oak Planting

    At 15 years of age, a young Princess Elizabeth instructed that acorns from Windsor Great Park be sent to Wellington New Zealand, to be planted in Queen’s Park – a site developed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Unfortunately, the journey of these acorns might have been waylaid getting to the other side of the world, possibly due to World War II. Today, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies joined the Friends of Queen’s Park and the Thorndon Residents Association to fulfil the late Sovereign’s wish to see oak trees in this little park in Te Whanganui-a-tara. By the first oak, Dame Cindy unveiled a plaque commemorating the late Sovereigns Platinum Jubilee, and by the second oak a plaque was unveiled by Mayor Andy Foster, commemorating the 125th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The afternoon was concluded with a fitting afternoon tea which included, naturally, Queen Elizabeth cake.

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    Dame Cindy unveils the plaque at Queen's Park

  • Women's Rugby World Cup Teams Welcome

    Dame Cindy was in Auckland to help welcome the 12 competing teams of the women's Rugby World Cup to Aotearoa New Zealand, and presented each team captain their participation cap and medal. The event also featured a welcome from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and a stunning Pasifika performance. This is the first time the women’s Rugby World Cup has been held in the Southern Hemisphere, with the first games taking place at a sold-out Eden Park. 

    The Rugby World Cup has been greatly anticipated, as it was delayed from its original date in 2021 due to the pandemic. 

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  • Opening of Te Wao Nui

    Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood's extraordinary generosity and support of landmark health initiatives was recognised at today's opening of a new children's health service in Wellington: Te Wao Nui, located in a building which is named the named the Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood building in their honour. They joined Dame Cindy and Health Minister Hon Andrew Little in formally opening his magnificent new facility, which has been thoughtfully designed to be child and family-friendly. Children and paediatric healthcare professionals will all benefit from having a purpose-built hospital, where children will have their own rooms, complete with ensuites and pull-down beds for parents' overnight stays.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery

    Hon Andrew Little, Dame Cindy, Dorothy Spotswood and Mark Dunajtschik unveiling the plaque
  • The State Memorial Service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

    “She showed us that though our lives can sometimes feel at the mercy of immense and indifferent forces, what matters most remains always within our control: the small acts of goodness and generosity we perform each day.”

    This reflection on the life of Queen Elizabeth II was part of Dame Cindy’s address at the State Memorial Service today, held at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul. Members of Parliament, former Governors-General, former Prime Ministers and representatives from the Realm of New Zealand were among those present at the Memorial, which commemorated Elizabeth II’s 70 years as Queen of New Zealand.

    Members of the New Zealand Defence Force marched the Queen's Personal Flag and the Queen's Colours into the Cathedral, and the Sovereign's Collar of the New Zealand Order of Merit was placed on the Table of Remembrance. The Prime Minister gave a historical reading, detailing Her Majesty's first visit to New Zealand as our Queen. 

    Dame Cindy's full address can be found here.

    More photos.

    Candles are lit on the Table of Remembrance

  • The State Funeral for Queen Elizabeth II

    Dame Cindy Kiro, Dr Richard Davies, Jacinda Ardern, Clarke Gayford, Shannon Austin

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies travelled to the United Kingdom with the New Zealand delegation to attend the State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Dame Cindy was the first to sign the condolence book at Lancaster House, which was signed by leaders from around the world who also attended the funeral.

    While in the UK, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies attended two receptions at the New Zealand High Commission: one with members of the New Zealand Defence Force, and another with representatives from the New Zealand delegation. The delegation consists of some truly outstanding New Zealanders, including the newest Members of the Order of New Zealand - Dame Silvia Cartwright and Sir Tipene O’Regan.    

    Dame Cindy Kiro and King Charles III
    Senior members of the Royal family invited Governors-General from around the Commonwealth to a luncheon at Buckingham Palace.

    On the 19th of September, the New Zealand delegation joined others from around the world at Westminster Abbey for the funeral of the late monarch, followed by a Committal Service at Windsor Castle.

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  • Wellington Investiture 21 September 2022 PM

    For the final Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours investiture ceremony at Government House Wellington, nine recipients received their insignia. Maha Galal received an MNZM for services to the Muslim community. Among her many advocacy roles, she supported those affected by the 15th of March terrorist attack, and works with Christchurch Resettlement Services. Professor Jacinta Ruru was recognised for her contributions to Māori and the law. She is a law lecturer at the University of Otago, specialising in Tikanga Māori and Indigenous laws. She was one of the first wāhine Māori elected Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

    Congratulations to all of the recipients who have come to Wellington for their investiture, and many thanks to Hon Dame Susan Glazebrook and the Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann for presiding over these very special ceremonies.

    Mr Simon Manning, QSO, of Paraparaumu, for services to funeral services and disaster victim identification

    You can find more images from this afternoon's ceremony here.

  • Wellington Investitures 21st September 2022 AM

    Nine recipients were welcomed to Government House this morning for their investiture ceremony, including Dame Judy McGregor, who was acknowledged for her services to human rights and health. Dame Judy has worked with human rights institutions internationally, including in Nepal, Jordan and Palestine. She was the first Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner for the NZ Human Rights Commission, serving two terms in that role. Her report on working conditions in the aged care industry contributed to several reforms in that sector.  

    Dr Bryan Betty received an ONZM for services to health. Dr Betty has been a strong advocate for health equality issues, particularly surrounding rheumatic fever and Type 2 Diabetes. During the pandemic, Dr Betty has been part of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group.

    Glenise Day received a QSM for her services to the Chatham Islands community, where she is closely involved with the Chatham Islands Health Centre, and volunteers also with St John.

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    Dame Helen Winkelmann and Dame Judy McGregor, of Auckland, DNZM for services to human rights and health
  • Wellington Investitures September 20th 2022 PM

    Chief Justice, the Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann, presided over investitures this afternoon as the Administrator of the Government. Dame Helen welcomed nine recipients to Government House, including Lorraine Scanlon, who is chair of the National Council of Victim Support. In over 20 years with the organisation, Mrs Scanlon has supported people affected by many major events including the recent flooding in Westport and the 15th of March terrorist attack.
    Dr Ian Hawes received the New Zealand Antarctic Medal for services to Antarctic science and conservation. Dr Hawes specialises in biodiversity and ecosystem function of inland and costal waters, and has 107 publications on Antarctic ecosystems. Congratulations to all this afternoon’s recipients.

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    Mrs Jenny Gordon, Dame Helen Winkelmann

  • Wellington Investitures 20th September 2022 AM

    Among this morning’s ten investiture recipients, Revered Jon Hartley received a QSO, recognising his services to governance and the community. Revered Hartley was chair of the Wellington City Mission board, was a trustee of World Vision New Zealand and has held governance roles at VisionFund International.  Jasmin McSweeney received an MNZM for services to the film industry, recognising her contributions to the New Zealand Film Commission. Harry and Virginia Pawsey were honoured for their advocacy for the Cave Creek Families Group. Government House is grateful for the assistance of the Administrator of the Government, Hon Dame Susan Glazebrook, who has presided over the Wellington investiture ceremonies while Dame Cindy represented New Zealand at  the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

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    Dame Susan Glazebrook and Reverend Jon Hartley, of Wellington, QSO for services to governance and the community
  • Wellington Investiture 16th September 2022 PM

    For this week’s final investiture, eleven recipients were honoured at Government House Wellington. Former Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft, received a QSO for services to the judiciary, children and youth. Judge Becroft contributed to the development of the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018, and co-founded the Māngere Community Law Centre which provides open access to justice in South Auckland.

    Denise Messiter received an ONZM for services to Māori and health. She has helped establish several health and wellbeing initiatives like Te Whāriki Manawāhine o Hauraki Māori Women’s Refuge, Hauraki Housing Network and the Pātaka Kai food rescue service.

    Three recipients from New Zealand Police were also honoured this afternoon, including Detective Inspector Dave de Lange, who has spent 25 years with the Criminal Investigation Branch.

    Image Gallery

  • Wellington Investiture 16 September 2022 AM

    This morning, the Administrator of the Government Dame Susan Glazebrook welcomed nine outstanding New Zealanders for their investiture at Government House. Among them were four recipients who were recognised for their contributions to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community. Hai Nguyen received an MNZM for services to refugees and the Vietnamese community. He was among the first Vietnamese refugees who came to Aotearoa after the fall of Saigon, and has since worked to help other refugees in New Zealand. Karel Witten-Hannah received a QSM for his contributions to the community, which include involvement with Surf Life Saving, St John, Civil Defence and the Rural Fire Brigade.

    Mr Hai Nguyen, MNZM, of Upper Hutt, for services to refugees and the Vietnamese community

    You can find more images from this morning's ceremony here.

  • Investiture Ceremony 15 September 2022 pm

    Ten people were invested with their honours at Government House today and were acknowledged for their outstanding services across diverse fields, including governance, agricultural science, health, business, music, journalism, wildlife conservation, traffic and road safety, as well as  the many and varied contributions they make to their communities.


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  • Wellington Investitures 15th September 2022 AM

    Aotearoa New Zealand’s most capped Silver Ferns Coach, Dame Ruth Aitken, was presented with her DNZM at Government House this morning. Dame Ruth coached our national netball team from 2002 to 2011, helping them win a World Netball Championship and two Commonwealth Games gold medals. Four-time Golden Shears champion John Kirkpatrick received an ONZM in recognition of his contributions to shearing sports. Over the past 26 years, Mr Kirkpatrick has achieved 211 individual wins.
    Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse both received their MNZM for services to the community and occupational health and safety. The pair are founding members of the Stand With Pike Families Reference Group, which represents the majority of the families of the 29 miners who lost their lives in the Pike River tragedy 12 years ago.

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    Ms Gaylene Te Rauna, Dame Susan Glazebrook

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