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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Investiture Ceremony 1 July 2020

    Contributions to health, Māori art and culture, the Anglican Church, the Pacific community, biodynamic agriculture, seniors and ITC education were recognised at the first investiture ceremony for the New Year 2020 Royal Honours recipients.  

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    Professor Jennifer Barbara Carryer, CNZM

  • Credentials ceremony June 30

    With the current COVID-19 travel restrictions affecting many of our incoming High Commissioners and Ambassadors, some inventive thinking needed to happen to ensure they could still present their credentials while stationed overseas. The solution was to forgo the usual ceremony on the south lawn and hold them virtually on a zoom call. The exception was the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, HE Mr Sang-jin Lee, as he will reside in New Zealand during his term. 

    Presenting credentials virtually was High Commissioner of Rwanda HE Mr Jean de Dieu Uwihangye, Ambassador of Nepal HE Mr Mahesh Raj Dahal, Ambassador of Colombia HE Mr Alberto Jose Meija Ferrero and Ambassador of Kazakhstan HE Mr Arken Arystanov.

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    Rodney Harris Dame Patsy Reddy MFAT

  • Life Flight Trust Wellington

    Life Flight Trust has been a patron of New Zealand Governor’s-General since the time of Sir Paul Reeves. Dame Patsy and Sir David went to visit Life Flight’s base at Wellington Airport to hear about the work they do to help critically ill and injured people get to specialist care around the country. They also provide search and rescue support both on land and at sea.

    The Life Flight trust was created by Peter Button as a result of the sinking of the Wahine in 1968, as that tragedy highlighted to him the real need for emergency rescue helicopters. Today, they predominantly service the Wellington region and the top of the South Island with search and rescue helicopters, air ambulances and emergency patient transfers. On average they fly around 4 patients a day, and can be in the air as quick as 10 minutes after receiving a call.

    While visiting Life Flight, Dame Patsy was presented with a customary gift given to all Governor's-General since Sir Paul. As Government House is right next door to Wellington Hospital, which is a frequent stop for the Life Flight helicopter, they like to gift the residing Governor-General some ear muffs to help with the noise! 

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    Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne with the Life Flight Helicopter crew

  • Visit to Flight Plastics

    Yesterday Dame Patsy visited Flight Plastics in Wellington to see how clear plastic, collected from around New Zealand, is cleaned, broken down, turned into sheeting and then made into packaging for food products. It is an example of the circular economy in action, as used food trays can in turn be returned to the plant to be recycled repeatedly.

    Flight Plastics Director, Derek Lander showing Dame Patsy a tray made of recycled plastic
    Dame Patsy with Patrick O'Donoghue, Sarah Baylis, and Derek Lander
  • Bill Gosden Investiture

    Bill Gosden was recognised for his contribution to the film industry at a small investiture ceremony at Government House in Wellington this afternoon.
    Until his retirement last year, Bill was the director of the New Zealand International Film Festival, bringing the best and most distinctive of New Zealand and international film making to audiences throughout the country and providing a vital platform for new film makers and diverse local communities.
    Bill received the insignia of an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM)

    The citation: 

    TO RECEIVE THE INSIGNIA OF AN OFFICER OF THE NEW ZEALAND ORDER OF MERIT

    Mr Bill Gosden, for services to the film industry

    Bill Gosden created and developed the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) from 1979 until his retirement in 2019, bringing the latest and most distinctive of New Zealand and international filmmaking to audiences throughout the country every winter.

    Over the years Mr Gosden brought together film festivals that had previously competed to create the amalgamated NZIFF. In the year of his retirement NZIFF played in 14 centres from Auckland to Gore to a total audience of more than 264,000. He has been a champion for New Zealand filmmakers, making NZIFF the initial screening venue for many of our most significant filmmakers, and a vital platform for emergent voices and the representation of diverse local communities. He has also served as a Governor of the New Zealand Arts Foundation since 2011 and has been involved in selecting the Foundation's Icon Awards. Mr Gosden was previously appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001 for his services to the film industry.

    Mage of Bill Gosden, Dame Patsy and Sir David

     

  • Fenwick Forum

    This morning Dame Patsy opened the Fenwick Forum, an event organised by The Aotearoa Circle focussing on ensuring COVID-19 economic recovery opportunities benefit natural capital.

    Joining Dame Patsy at the Fenwick Forum was Izzy Fenwick, daughter of the late Sir Rob Fenwick, co-founder of The Aotearoa Circle. Izzy’s moving speech paid tribute to her father’s legacy and emphasised the importance of acting now to ensure a liveable world for future generations.


    While Dame Patsy and Izzy were speaking in Auckland, the participants and panellists were attending via Zoom, walking the walk and keeping their carbon emissions down.

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  • Auckland City Mission

    Dame Patsy's visit to Auckland City Mission found the organisation in good heart, after being on the front lines helping Aucklanders in desperate need navigate the Covid-19 crisis.

    Demand for food parcels doubled during lockdown and has yet to fall. Mission staff also had to reinvent every single service in order to continue to help those who needed it, with some of the changes set to be permanently incorporated into the Mission's way of working.

    Dame Patsy heard from GM Social Services Helen Robinson and GM Corporate Services Roger King about the generosity and bravery that was shown to and by staff and volunteers at the Mission. They reported that while there was anxiety around what they could afford to do, there was enormous support from Aucklanders.

    Dame Patsy was able to thank staff and volunteers and also received a briefing on Mission Homeground, the ACM's new home currently being built.

    Mission Homeground

    There was plenty of symbolism surrounding Dame Patsy's visit. Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly noted that the organisation was founded in the aftermath of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and as they celebrate their 100th year, they're having to manage another one. It was also the first official vist to Auckland City Mission by a Governor-General since Lord Bledisloe visited in 1931, the earliest days of the Depression.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and an ACM staff member in the pottery activity area

     

  • Auckland Festival Trust

    Dame Patsy and Sir David visited the Auckland Festival Trust this afternoon. Like many events, the Auckland Arts Festival 2020 was affected by the March lock down, with the final few performances of the festival cancelled.

    Dame Patsy heard how the Trust has worked to make sure their commitments to staff and performers were met, as well as how they are planning for the future in 2021 and beyond. Watch this space!

    Image gallery

    Image of Dame Patsy and the Auckland Festival team discussing how Covid-19 has affected the Festival and the arts sector

  • Visit to the New Zealand Olympic Committee offices

    Dame Patsy and Sir David met the team behind the team when they visited the offices of the New Zealand Olympic Committee in Auckland today.

    The 22 staff members are responsible for every facet of organisation for New Zealand's Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams and while the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may have been postponed until next year; the organisation for that event, as well as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, continues.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David were given an overview of each area of operations, from athelete and team support and logistics, commercial partnerships, marketing, media engagement, legacy initiatives and more.

    This year marks a notable milestone for our Olympians. It's the 100th anniversary of New Zealanders first wearing the silver fern at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the NZOC team
     

     

     

  • Auckland visit - Day one

    Dame Patsy and Sir David are in Auckland for most of this week. Their first visit was to Tourism New Zealand for a chat with CEO Stephen England-Hall and GM NZ and Government Relations Billie Hall about how the organisation has turned its focus from promoting New Zealand overseas to encouraging New Zealanders to see more of their own country. 

    Information on "Do Something New, New Zealand"

    Next Dame Patsy and Sir David headed to Pet Refuge. The brainchild of Kids Can founder Julie Chapman, Pet Refuge will provide temporary shelter for pets affected by domestic violence, keeping them safe while their owners escape abuse. Dame Patsy viewed the building site and also met some of Julie's own rescue animals.

    Pet Refuge website

    The last meeting of the day was with Auckland City Mayor Phil Goff for a briefing on the impact of Covid-19 on the city and some of the other challenges currently being faced.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David chatting with Auckland City Mayor, Phil Goff

    Image of Julie Chapman of Pet Refuge and her cat Layla, who was born with no eyes

     

  • Te Papa welcomes back visitors

    As patron of the Te Papa Foundation, Dame Patsy and Sir David  were the first guest through the doors at Te Papa Tongarewa after being closed for the longest time in its 22 year history. They weren’t the only ones eager to have a visit, many patrons were waiting by the doors for their chance to get back inside our national museum.

    On arrival, they were met by the CEO of Te Papa’s board, Dame Fran Wilde, and were walked through new hygiene practices that are being implemented to keep the returning guests safe.  

    A maximum of 500 guests are allowed in the museum at any one time. While this is less than the normal number of daily visitors, it is a gradual return to business as usual for this national institution.

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    Dame Patsy at Te Papa

  • Dame Patsy visits Wellington College to hear about schooling during a lockdown

    With the sudden alert level 4 announcement, schools had to react quickly to shift learning from the classroom to an online environment. Dame Patsy paid a visit to Government House’s neighbour, Wellington College, to see how the staff and students managed with the drastic changes to their learning environment and how it felt being back in the classroom.

    Some of the issues raised were making sure students had access to the devices they would need to learn online from home, making sure students adopted good time management skills and coming to terms with cancelled events they had been working hard towards.

    Dame Patsy heard how the teachers and students had embraced online learning through creative techniques like YouTube videos, Zoom catch ups and the kids keeping in contact with each other through the school Instagram account.

    During the lockdown, an emphasis was placed on flexible learning, noting that not all kids are in the same situation and their education needed to fit around their home and in some cases work life situations.

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    Wellington College Head Prefect Andrew Latta, Principal Gregor Fountain and Dame Patsy Reddy

  • Meeting essential workers on the retail COVID-19 frontline

    While many New Zealanders worked from home where possible during alert level 4 COVID-19 restrictions, some needed to leave their bubble to ensure a small bit of essential normality took place for our households. A large group of essential workers were supermarket staff, who made sure our shelves were well supplied in the weeks that passed while we stayed home. Dame Patsy met with some of these workers on a visit to New World Thorndon on the 27th of May.

    Owner and store manager respectively are brothers Reece and Ash Drake, who recently took over the business from their father Brian. Supermarkets have always been a part of their lives, right from when they were small kids running around the family 4 Square. As with many businesses, they had to adapt from their business as usual to the ever-changing alert level restrictions to ensure their staff and shoppers remained safe. While visiting, Dame Patsy met staff from all areas of the supermarket and heard what it was like working in a customer-facing role during the lockdown period, and heard how they were able to hire more staff to help with such a busy time.

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    Dame Patsy Reddy meets Sonia Rathour and Anita Prakash

  • Government House hospitality protocols under Level 2

    Last night's dinner for officials leading New Zealand's response to COVID-19 was an opportunity to test out Government House's hospitality protocols under Level Two. Small dinners and lunches have a limited number of guests, who use hand sanitiser and sign a register. Guests assemble briefly for photographs, drinks are served to guests when they are seated and appropriate spacing is used during the seated dinner service. Last night's dinner for leaders in New Zealand's response to COVID-19 were served this dessert, aptly named Crush the Curve (peanut butter and raspberry jelly with brown bread ice-cream).

    Crush the curve dessert
  • Dinner for Dr Ashley Bloomfield and government officials

    This evening Dame Patsy hosted government officials who have been trusted leaders of New Zealand's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were particularly appropriate guests for the first dinner since lockdown began, and included Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director General of Health; Sarah Stuart-Black, who led the Civil Defence response to the pandemic; John Ombler, who led the Government's response; and Dr Caroline McElnay, Director of Public Health for the Ministry of Health.

    Dame Patsy thanked them for their service and acknowledged the enormous responsibility that they had shouldered. She noted how they had used their expertise and communication skills to instil confidence in their fellow citizens and encourage a sense of collective responsibility for the nation's wellbeing.

    Image Gallery

     

     

    Dame Patsy with Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Sarah Stuart-Black
    Their Excellencies with guests at the dinner for COVID-19 officials
  • AIDS Candlelight Memorial

    On this AIDS Candlelight Memorial day, the COVID-19 virus is obliging us to gather in a virtual space  and reflect on the terrible toll of the HIV virus, which has been responsible for over 30 million deaths worldwide since the 1980s.

    This year, many of us will see parallels between the early years of the AIDS pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic: the race to collect data and understand the science; widespread fear and anxiety about devastating social, health and economic impacts; and the absence of viable vaccines or antiviral medications.

    As with COVID-19, New Zealand was fortunate to experience a low rate of viral infection during the AIDS pandemic, and our numbers of HIV positive tests have remained comparatively low by international standards. However, our rainbow community was hit particularly hard, and continues to bear the brunt of AIDs-related conditions.

    This evening, people around New Zealand will join people around the world who will be remembering friends, loved ones and family members whose lives were brought short by HIV/AIDS, before the advent of medications that would have enabled them to live out a normal life-span.

    Tonight people will remember also the remarkable resilience of the rainbow community in the 1980s, when HIV-positive people experienced terrible social exclusion and stigma. We will remember their courage and their determined advocacy for research into effective treatment options.

    The rainbow community has done much to reduce the lingering stigma experienced by people living with HIV/AIDs – and to promote the message that early testing will also enable early and more effective treatment.

    I hope that we can all be inspired by that sense of community spirit, compassion and resolve in our efforts to combat COVID-19.

    AIDs Candlelight Memorial
  • Supporting the arts during lockdown

    He toi whakairo, he mana tangata: Where there is artistic excellence, there is human dignity.

    New Zealanders have turned to music, song and performance to connect with each other in these anxious times. From people joining their neighbours in driveways to sing together in Whakatu, to on-line performances by families, and extraordinary coordinated efforts by musicians across New Zealand, the power of music is giving us inspiration, hope and good cheer.

    As Patron of several arts organisations, Dame Patsy invites New Zealanders to follow what these particular patronages are achieving in the virtual realm. 

    The Arts Foundation Future Fund

    Boosted Live - Live streams of creative works from concerts to art exhibitions supported by the Arts Foundation Future Fund

    The NZSO

    New Zealand Opera

    The Royal New Zealand Ballet

    The Orpheus Choir's virtual rehearsal

     

     

     

     

  • Dame Patsy's patronages

    Dame Patsy is patron of a wide range of charities and organisations. She has recently sent them letters of support, acknowledging that they are working in testing times and have had to adapt how they work in our communities.

    One such patronage is the Graeme Dingle Foundation, which plays a vital role in helping thousands of New Zealand children develop confidence and achieve their potential. The Foundation has been recently been listed as an essential service by the Ministry of Social Development.  This will allow more flexibility for its services that support the education and youth-justice sectors and help alleviate the sense of dislocation and anxiety that many young people will be experiencing.

    Here's an example of how the Foundation has continued its fantastic work in an on-line environment.

  • Anzac Day 2020

    Like other New Zealanders, Dame Patsy and Sir David were unable to attend public commemorations to mark Anzac Day 2020, due to the restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    They joined thousands of fellow citizens across the country who chose to  stand at dawn in front of their houses in silent reflection. 

    In an historic first, a video message was recorded by Dame Patsy and the Governor-General of Australia, General The Hon David Hurley. They encouraged the citizens of both countries to find their own way of paying homage to their forebears, and to draw strength from their example as we face our current adversities.

    Dame Patsy's Anzac Address was screened on television at 11 am to coincide with the usual time of the National Commemoration at Pukeahu War Memorial Park.

    Radio New Zealand re-broadcasted the 2017 National Commemoration, the first where Dame Patsy spoke as Governor-General of New Zealand.

    Anzac Address

     

     

  • Message from Dame Patsy

    Dame Patsy speaks about how proud she is of the country's response to the Covid-19 crisis and urges everyone to keep up the good work

  • Media advisory

    Media advisory on behalf of Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand

    The Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy, will be donating twenty percent of her salary over the next six months in support of a number of charities.

    Dame Patsy says she is making this move to show leadership and support for sectors of the community affected during the pandemic.

    “I am very conscious of the impact of the current situation on all New Zealanders and feel it is important to offer support to organisations helping some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

    Dame Patsy will be supporting the work of the Order of St John, Women’s Refuge, KidsCan, the SPCA and the Arts Foundation.

    Image of Dame Patsy at the lectern

  • Message from HM Queen Elizabeth II

    Image of a message from HM Queen Elizabeth II April 6 2020
    The message reads:

    As people across New Zealand and the Commonwealth are experiencing unprecedented changes to their lives, concern for family and friends, and financial uncertainty, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I send my enduring thanks to those who continue to put the service of others above themselves, whether by staying at home, providing essential services, or by caring for the most vulnerable.

    It is through this sense of community, dedication and faith, that I am confident New Zealanders will rise to the challenge and overcome.

    Kia kaha, kia mãia, kia manawanui.

    I send my warmest good wishes to you all.

    ELIZABETH R.

  • Message from Dame Patsy

    Like other New Zealanders, we are doing everything we can to support measures that will help contain COVID-19.
    My constitutional duties will continue, but all community engagements and events in my programme have been postponed.
    David and I are sad that we will not be able to help celebrate the service and dedication of outstanding New Zealanders at investiture ceremonies in April and May. These will be rescheduled for later in the year.
    We encourage everyone to help our nation get through this challenging time, by following the advice of the Government and its expert advisers, and by looking after yourselves and others in your community.
    Kia maia, kia manawanui, kia kaha.
    Patsy

  • The Governor-General's programme

     

    As a consequence of the Alert Level 4 restrictions announced today by the Prime Minister in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Dame Patsy’s public engagements have been cancelled. Her programme will be re-evaluated when the lockdown has been lifted. Dame Patsy will continue to fulfil her constitutional duties in the interim.

     

    DAme Patsy
  • Message from Dame Patsy

  • Government House Visitor Centre tour update

    All tours of Government House Wellington and Auckland are postponed until at least 14 April, 2020, when the tour programme will be reviewed again.

    If you have queries about tours later in the year, please email the Visitor Centre team bookings@govthouse.govt.nz

    Image of Visitor centre exterior Mar 2020

     

  • Electoral Commission - returning officers and registrars of electors

    Dame Patsy spoke at a training session for the Returning Officers and Registrars of Electors taking part in this year's General Elections. 

    Dame Patsy spoke about the Governor-General's role in New Zealand's democratic system and where it sits in the process of forming a Government under the MMP system.

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    Dame Patsy's speech

    Image of Dame Patsy with Chief Electoral officer, Alicia Wright and Deputy Chief Electoral officer, Mark Lawson
    Image of Dame Patsy with all the Returning Officers

     

     

     

  • Opening of Kaibosh Kapiti-Horowhenua

    Best wishes to the volunteers, sponsors and food donors supporting the new Kaibosh branch in Paraparaumu. When Dame Patsy opened the premises this evening, she noted how the organisation is a poster child for practical projects that promote sustainability. By redirecting excess food to people who need it, Kaibosh is helping to eliminate food waste and eradicate food poverty. In addition, because that food does not end up in landfills, Kaibosh is also limiting harmful CO2 emissions. Kaibosh is very dependent on volunteers from the community to collect, sort and distribute the food.

    Image Gallery

  • HM The Queen's Commonwealth Message

    On the 9th of March, Dame Patsy delivered Her Majesty The Queen's Commonwealth Message for Commonwealth Day. The theme for this year's Commonwealth Day was "Sustainable Future", a message reflected by Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard when he read out the Prime Minister's message. He spoke how technology is bringing the Commonwealth closer together than ever before, and the need for New Zealand to be kaitiaki (guardians) for our smaller Pacific Commonwealth neighbours in this environmental climate.

    Dame Patsy Reddy reading the Commonwealth Messsage

    Message from HM The Queen

     

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    HM The Queen's Commonwealth Message as follows

    "On Commonwealth occasions, it is always inspiring to be reminded of the diversity of the people and countries that make up our worldwide family. We are made aware of the many associations and influences that combine through Commonwealth connection, helping us to imagine and deliver a common future.

    This is particularly striking when we see people from nations, large and small, gathering for the Commonwealth Games, for meetings of Commonwealth governments, and on Commonwealth Day. Such a blend of traditions serves to make us stronger, individually and collectively, by providing the ingredients needed for social, political and economic resilience.

    Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to see and hear how membership of the Commonwealth family means so much to those living in all parts of the world, often in places that are quite remote. Advances in technology and modern media have now enabled many more people to witness and enjoy - with remarkable immediacy - this experience of Commonwealth connection, in areas such as education, medicine and conservation.

    Looking to the future, this connectivity means we are also aware, perhaps as never before, that wherever we live, our choices and actions affect the well-being of people and communities living far away, and in very different circumstances. For many, this awareness awakens a desire to employ our planet’s natural resources with greater care, and it is encouraging to see how the countries of the Commonwealth continue to devise new ways of working together to achieve prosperity, whilst protecting our planet.

    As members of this very special community, on this Commonwealth Day, I hope that the people and countries of the Commonwealth will be inspired by all that we share, and move forward with fresh resolve to enhance the Commonwealth’s influence for good in our world.

    ELIZABETH R."

  • Wellington International Pride Parade 2020

    Why paint the town red when you can paint it rainbow! The Capital put on a fantastic evening for the Wellington International Pride Parade, bringing together members of the LGBTQI+ community to show their pride and bring their aroha to the thousands lining the streets. Dame Patsy spoke of the recent political battles that have been won by the Rainbow community, such as gay marriage and homosexual law reform, and how we must all work together to continue positive change.

    The theme for this year’s parade was “Water: Dive Into your Pride” which saw organisations from Air NZ, the New Zealand Defence Force and everyone in between out in force to wave the rainbow flag and show their support for the LGBTQI+ community.

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    Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy with one of the hosts of Wellington International Pride Parade

  • Caring Families Aotearoa Excellence in Foster Care Awards 2020

    This morning, Dame Patsy and Sir David were delighted to shine a spotlight on some of the good people who open up their homes as foster carers to children who are neglected or abused. The annual Caring Families Aotearoa Excellence in Foster Care Awards recognise people whose patience, care and love help to provide structure and security to such children and set them on a path to a better future. As always, the citations of the 2020 recipients are inspirational. 

    Speech transcript                 Image Gallery

    2020 recipients of Excellence in Foster Care Awards with Their Excellencies
  • Order of New Zealand dinner Wellington 2020

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a dinner for members of the Order of New Zealand at Government House in Wellington.

    The ONZ is New Zealand's most senior honour and recognises "outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity".

    Among the guests - Professor Sir Lloyd Geering; Dame Malvina Major, the Rt Hon Helen Clark; Dame Margaret Bazley; Joy Cowley, Sir Ron Carter; Professor Sir Peter Gluckman; Ken Douglas; Jim Bolger; the Rt Hon Sir Kenneth Keith

    More information on the Order of New Zealand

    More images

    Speech

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with members of the Order of New Zealand

    Image of Dame Patsy

     

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