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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

    Seventy years ago, on 6 February 1952, a 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth asceded the throne, and became Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms. In this, the Platinum Jubilee year, we celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years as Queen of New Zealand, reflect on the remarkable nature of this achievement, and acknowledge Her Majesty’s extraordinary life of service. 

    You can read Her Majesty’s Accession Day statement, and find further information relating to the Platinum Jubilee in New Zealand here.

    HM Queen of New Zealand
  • Waitangi Day 2022

    This year was a departure from New Zealanders’ previous experiences of our national day. Most Waitangi Day gatherings were curtailed or cancelled due to public health considerations, but the advent of pre-recorded broadcasts enabled a broad audience to witness a thoughtful national conversation about what our national day means to us in 2022.

    A range of perspectives was eloquently represented in the contributions of the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and other political leaders, the Chief Justice and iwi leaders, thereby affirming the constitutional significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the evolving relationship between Treaty partners.

    Dame Cindy was also interviewed by Radio New Zealand's Julian Wilcox for Waitangi Day: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/waitangiday/audio/2018829505/dame-cindy-kiro.

    As Government House’s customary Waitangi Day garden reception could not be held this year, manaakitanga was instead extended to a neighbouring social service, the Wellington City Mission’s Social Supermarket, and in Auckland, to the RNZSPCA.

    Today, 6 February is also a particularly significant anniversary for New Zealand’s Head of State, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, as it marks 70 years since Her Majesty's accession to the Crown. Buckingham Palace has published a message from Queen Elizabeth to mark the occasion, and Dame Cindy joins New Zealanders and people around the world in congratulating Her Majesty for an extraordinary record of devoted service.

    Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee Message

    Dame Cindy's Waitangi Day Address

    Dame Cindy for Waitangi Address 2022
  • Sir George Elliot Tertiary Scholarships 2021

    This morning Dame Cindy welcomed the 2021 recipients of the Sir George Elliot Tertiary Scholarships. The scholarships have been awarded each year since 1999, recognising a student's academic ability, contributions to the community and achieving success through adversity. Congratulations to Ali Hussaini from Otahuhu College, Hirimaia Eketone from Avondale College and Vicki Chow from Epsom Girls Grammar.

    Sir George Elliot was a successful businessman and philanthropist. He established the trust just prior to his death in 1956 to ensure his legacy would continue to benefit communities in Auckland.

    Today's recipients have recently graduated from high school in Auckland. Receiving this scholarship will assist them as they begin the next stage of their education at University.

    Ali, Hirimaia and Vicki now join the 67 other recipients to receive this scholarship since it began over two decades ago.

    More photos Speech

    Hirimaia Eketone, Vicki Chow and Hirimaia Eketone.

  • Virtuoso Strings

    Last night at Government House, Their Excellencies enjoyed a real festive treat, with the Virtuoso Strings Orchestra playing a special Christmas concert. Established in 2013, and with acclaimed New Zealand-Samoan opera singer Jonathan Lemalu as its patron, Virtuoso Strings provides a safe and inclusive environment for young people to explore their musical talents. Its long-term mission is to help make New Zealand's orchestras more reflective of our country's cultural and socioeconomic makeup. The performance was a highlight of Dame Cindy's term so far, and a reminder of the true joy of music.

    You can find more images from the event here, and Dame Cindy's speech here.

  • Wellington Investiture 14 December 2021 AM

    The final investiture ceremony for the year saw eight recipients receive their honours across a wide range of fields, including one of our most capped Black Ferns. Kendra Cocksedge received an MNZM for her outstanding rugby career, during which she won the Women’s Rugby World Cup twice and playing over 50 test for our national team. Also honoured was Professor Angus Macfarlane, for his contributions to education, psychology and Māori.

    More photos

    Professor Angus Macfarlane, Dame Cindy Kiro

  • Wellington Investiture 13 December 2021 PM

    This afternoon's investiture ceremony welcomed eight recipients to Government House Wellington. These New Zealanders were acknowledged for their work across: the public service, music, education, nursing, governance, wildlife conservation and the community.

    This round of Wellington investitures will conclude with tomorrow morning's ceremony.

    Dr Graeme Downes, of Otaki, MNZM, for services to music and music education
     

    More photos

  • Wellington Investiture 10 December PM

    This afternoon, Dame Cindy welcomed 11 further recipients to Government House for their investiture ceremony. They included former Mayor of Masterton, Bob Francis, who was honoured for his extensive contributions to the Wairarapa District, including his role as Chair of national wildlife centre Pūkaha Mount Bruce and the co-founding of the Wairarapa Development Group.

    Also recognised was Mrs Taualoa Lalopua Sanele, who was a driving force in the campaign to amend the Employment Relations Act, in order to protect the jobs and working conditions for cleaners.

    Images and citations

     

    Dame Cindy and Mr Bob Francis, of Masterton, CNZM for services to the community and conservation
    Mrs Taualoa Lalopua Sanele, of Wellington, QSM for services to the union movement and Samoan community
  • Investiture Ceremony 10 December 2021 AM

    Renowned artist Sir Grahame Sydney KNZM, economist Suzanne Snively (Honorary DNZM) and champion freediver William Trubridge MNZM were among the extraordinary New Zealanders who received their insignia for Queens Birthday honours at this morning's investiture ceremony at Government House.

    Images and citations

    Dame Cindy and Sir Grahame Sydney, KNZM
  • Wellington Investitures 9 December 2021 PM

    Ten recipients were welcomed to Government House Wellington this afternoon to receive their insignia, including former Member of Parliament Hon Ruth Dyson. Ruth Dyson, who retired from Parliament in 2020, was recognised for her time as an MP representing constituents in Christchurch, and holding Ministerial roles in the fifth and sixth Labour Government. It was noted the significant impact she had while Minister for Disability Issues, including helping recognise sign language as an official language of New Zealand.

    Also being honoured was Sgt Andy Brooke, for services to search and rescue. Sgt Brooke has been with New Zealand Police since 1981 and is Officer in Charge of the Manawatu Police Search and Rescue Squad. 

    Sergeant Andy Brooke, Dame Cindy Kiro

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  • Wellington Investiture 9 December 2021 AM

    This morning at Government House Wellington, Dame Cindy had the pleasure of presenting insignia to seven recipients of Queen's Birthday Honours. Dame Hinewehi Mohi (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe) was among the recipients, for her contributions to music, television production, charity work, and advocacy for te reo and tikanga Māori. Dame Hinewehi is perhaps best known for singing the New Zealand national anthem in te reo Māori at the 1999 Rugby World Cup at Twickenham – the first time this had been done at an international rugby match. The late Dave Cull was also honoured for his immense contributions to the city of Dunedin during his time as Councillor and later Mayor. Other recipients were acknowledged for their work across health, sport, conservation, education, and ethnic communities.

    Dame Hinewehi Mohi, of Havelock North, DNZM, for services to Māori, music and television

    More images

  • Investiture Ceremony, 8 December 2021

    This morning's investiture ceremony honoured the service of nine New Zealanders who have helped to make New Zealand a better place through their work in various fields: in support of victims of sexual violence; secondary school sport; plant science; bowls; paralympic sport; conservation; medical education; cancer support; and the community.

    Images and citations

    Dame Cindy and Mrs Michelle Grant, QSO
  • Wellington Investiture 7 December 2021 PM

    This afternoon at Government House Wellington, eight remarkable New Zealanders received their insignia, following their inclusion on the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours List. They included Mr Jack Thatcher, for his services to Māori and education, and Ms Sarah Stuart-Black, Secretary General of the New Zealand Red Cross. Recipients were also honoured for their service across sport, health, and the arts in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    More photos

    Mr Jack Thatcher, of Tauranga, CNZM, for services to Māori and education

  • Wellington Investiture Tuesday 7 December 2021

    This morning eight recipients received their insignia at Government House Wellington, including National President of the Council of Women, Vanisa Dhiru. Ms Dhiru led the NCWNZ’s Gender Equal NZ campaign, and she is also Chief Executive of Volunteering New Zealand.

    Also honoured this morning were five recipients from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, who are being recognised for their indispensable work across Aotearoa.

    More photos

    Kevin Curtis and Dame Cindy Kiro

  • Wellington Investiture 6 December 2021 PM

    This afternoon marked the beginning of the Wellington investiture ceremonies, honouring the 2021 Queen's Birthday New Zealand Honours recipients. Recipients came from right across the country – from Hastings to Geraldine. Among those receiving insignia today were Mrs Margaret Baker, for her services to the Special Olympics, and Mrs Margaret Chapman, ex-President of Rural Women New Zealand. Invesiture ceremonies will continue through until early next week.

    Mrs Margaret Baker, of Hastings, ONZM, for services to Special Olympics

    More photos

  • New Zealand Commissioning Course Graduation 2021

    After a quick trip in an NH90 helicopter, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies were welcomed onto the New Zealand Army Marae, before attending the New Zealand Commissioning Course Graduation 2021 at Waiouru Military Camp. The marae was famously carried in place by hundreds of soldiers, and is the only marae in the country to face the setting sun to signify the Army watching the backs of the nation.

    A haka outside New Zealand Army National Marae

    Following the welcome on the marae, it was time for the New Zealand Commissioning Course Graduation. The 31 cadets have completed the challenging 11 month course, which is a real test physically and mentally. Now the cadets have graduated as officers, they are on the path to become leaders within Ngāti Tūmatauenga New Zealand Army.

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    Dame Cindy Kiro presents the Sword of Honour to Elese Russell

  • BGI Challenge for Change 2021

    Yesterday evening Dame Cindy and Dr Davies honoured the 18 rangatahi who recently graduated from the BGI (Wellington Boys' and Girls' Institute) Challenge for Change programme. BGI has been helping young people of Wellington since 1883, teaching them life-skills through awesome experiences. Yesterday’s graduates from Challenge for Change have completed a year-long partnership with their mentors, and spoke about what they learned in the programme. One mentee, Zion, gave his first-ever live performance on the guitar, playing a classic from Green Day.   

    More photos Speech

    Dame Cindy Kiro and Dr Richard Davies with members from BGI

  • Credentials 1 December 2021

    After doing things digitally in previous times, today Government House welcomed diplomats in person for Dame Cindy’s first Credentials ceremonies. Presenting their letters of credence this morning was HE Dr Zsolt Gábor Hetesy, Ambassador of Hungary and HE Mr Jimmy Nipo, High Commissioner of the Republic of Vanuatu. Also attending was HE Mr Eliam Tangirongo, High Commissioner for the Solomon Islands. HE Tangirongo presented his credentials earlier to the Prime Minister, as is custom for countries where Queen Elizabeth II is Head of State.

    HE Mr Jimmy Nipo reads a speech to Dame Cindy Kiro

    For the afternoon ceremonies, Dame Cindy welcomed HE Mr Rashed Alqemzi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates; HE Mr Marcos Arbizu De Souza Campos, Ambassador of Brazil and HE Hon Thomas Udall, Ambassador of the United States of America.

    HE Mr Marcos Arbizu De Souza Campos with Joe Harawira and Puhiwahine Tibble

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  • Visit to Nisa

    Dame Cindy visited Wellington clothing company, nisa, created in 2017 by former lawyer Elisha Watson. Nisa has been supporting women from refugee and migrant backgrounds, helping them settle into their new communities and giving them a step-up on the employment ladder. Elisha was inspired to create Nisa while volunteering with the Red Cross refugee resettlement programme. The idea proved to be a real success: the company has now given 19 migrants and former refugees their first job in New Zealand.

    Initially, Nisa manufactured underwear as it was easier to make. The growth of the business has meant tops, bottoms and swimwear have been added to their line.

    More photos

    Dame Cindy Kiro with the team at Nisa

  • Wellington City Mission Visit

    This morning Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited the Wellington City Mission. City Missioner Murray Edridge took them on a tour of the current facilities, including the cafe, chapel, and social supermarket. Dame Cindy and Dr Davies met some of the Mission's manuhiri and staff. They also had a digital tour of the Mission's new complex, Whakamuru, which will be constructed over a two year period. It will offer accommodation, laundry facilities, a cafe, a chapel, a medical centre and a conference centre. 

  • The Council of Jewish Women "Women of Worth Awards"

    Last night Dame Cindy presented "Women of Worth" Awards to six women who had been nominated by Wellington branch members of the Council of Jewish Women. The recipients are all active in their community and also contribute to the wider community - as teachers, carers, artists, activists, volunteers, leaders, and devoted family members.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery

  • Armistice Day 2021

    Dame Cindy and Dr Davies meeting with veterans after the Act of Remembrance.
    On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the armistice between Germany and the Allies came into effect, signalling the end of World War One. To commemorate Armistice Day, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies attended a socially distanced Act of Remembrance at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. The Act of Remembrance acknowledges the New Zealanders who served both here and overseas during the four-year war, which was about 9% of the population at the time.

    On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the armistice between Germany and the Allies came into effect, signalling the end of World War One. To commemorate Armistice Day, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies attended a socially distanced Act of Remembrance at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. The Act of Remembrance acknowledges the New Zealanders who served both here and overseas during the four-year war, which was about 9% of the population at the time.

    In her speech, Dame Cindy noted the similarities between the first Armistice Day and today.

    This was at the height of the 1918 influenza pandemic, and some gatherings were cancelled for fear of spreading the virus. It is a sobering link to the present day, and I acknowledge there may be veterans and others who would have liked to have been here with us this morning, or at local commemorations, but have been prevented due to COVID-19”.

    The Act of Remembrance was also attended by Minister for Veterans Hon Meka Whaitiri, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Dr Shane Reti, Chief of Defence AM Kevin Short, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps HE Mr Leasi Papali'i Tommy Scanlan and National President of the RSA BJ Clark.
    For more history on New Zealand and Armistice Day, go to NZ History.

    Dame Cindy's speech 

    More photos

     

  • Reception for the Diplomatic Corps

    On Friday 29th October 2021, Dame Cindy Kiro hosted a reception for the Diplomatic Corps at Government House Wellington. In her speech to the Corps, Dame Cindy said she was looking forward to developing relationships across the diplomatic community during her time in Office, and acknowledged what a difficult time it must have been for the community, seperated from families and friends by resticted borders.

    Dame Cindy Kiro addressing the Diplomatic Corps

    The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Mr Leasi Papali'i Tommy Scanlan, High Commissioner of Somoa, also spoke, thanking Dame Cindy and Dr Davies for their hospitality, and wishing them all the very best for their time in Government House. Representatives from over 40 countries were in attendence.

    Dame Cindy with the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Mr Leasi Papali'i Tommy Scanlan

    Dame Cindy's full speech transcript.

  • Remembering The Hon Dame Catherine Anne Tizard, ONZ, GCMG, GCVO, DBE, QSO

    Dame Cath Tizard hosting an investiture ceremony
    Dame Cath Tizard hosting an investiture ceremony at Government House Wellington
    Dame Catherine Tizard was born on the 4th April 1931 in Auckland, to Scottish immigrant parents Neil and Helen McLean.  After graduating from Matamata College, she attended the University of Auckland where she completed a degree in zoology and co-authored several papers on sea sponges. Dame Cath then worked at the University as a senior tutor of zoology for 20 years.

    Dame Cath hopping in an Air Force plane
    Dame Cath getting in to a Air Force jet during a visit to Ohakea. Copyright RNZAF
    Her interest in biology and the natural world was  matched by her passion for quality childcare and  community work. Her roles across these spheres of interest included President of the Play Centre Committee, membership of the Eastern Secondary Schools Board of Governors and terms as an Auckland City Councillor.

    Dame Cath was a trailblazer for women in two of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most prominent public offices: the Mayoralty of our biggest city and the role of Governor-General.

    In 1983, Dame Cath was elected the first female Mayor of Auckland. During her term, she was instrumental in bringing the 1990 Commonwealth Games to Auckland. 

    In 1990, Dame Cath was appointed as Governor-General by Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer.  Since her term, three more female Governors-General have occupied Government House.

    Dame Cath was made a Dame in 1984, and in 2002, she became a member of New Zealand's most prestigious and select group of citizens, the Order of New Zealand. This is New Zealand's highest honour, and at any one time, can be held by 20 living New Zealanders.

    Dame Cath Tizard with HRH The Prince of Wales
    Dame Cath with HRH The Prince of Wales during a Royal Visit in 2014

    Dame Cath was famous for her down-to-earth manner and sharp wit. She particularly enjoyed hosting events at Government House and meeting a wide cross-section of New Zealand society. She had a keen interest in the arts and scuba diving, and relished the challenge of a good cryptic crossword.

    In a 2014 interview with the New Zealand Herald, Dame Cath was asked what she would like her legacy to be.  She replied “ To the best of my ability I tried to do some good, tried to make people's lives better in whatever way I could? Without sounding sanctimonious about it. Perhaps just that I tried not to do any harm”.

    On 31 October, after a life of extraordinary service and accomplishment, Dame Cath died at the age of 90.

    Members of the public have been invited to sign a condolence book in the main entrance of the Executive Wing of Parliament. People can also email messages to condolences@dia.govt.nz

    Dame Cath Tizard

  • Dame Cindy Kiro Swearing-In at Parliament and wreath laying at Pukeahu

    Dame Cindy Kiro at her swearing-in ceremony
    “I stand here today: grateful for this opportunity, and determined to bring all my experience, understanding, and resolve to this new chapter of our nation’s story”.

    On Thursday 21st of October, The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro was sworn in as Governor-General of Aotearoa New Zealand. The ceremony took place in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann.

    After her Swearing-In at Parliament this morning, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and to sign the Visitor's Book.

    Representing the New Zealand Defence Force at Pukeahu was Chief of Defence, AM Kevin Short, Chief of Navy RA David Proctor, Chief of Army Maj Gen John Boswell and Chief of Air Force AVM Andrew Clark.

    Swearing-In speech 
    More photos

    Dame Cindy Kiro and Dr Richard Davies

  • A private audience with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

    With the help of digital technology, a very special moment occoured for our Governor-General Designate, Dame Cindy Kiro, when she had a private audience with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, New Zealand’s Head of State.

    This follows the long-standing tradition of such meetings before the swearing-in of a new Governor-General, and this virtual meeting enabled a significant moment in our constitutional processes to be recognised.

    During the call, Dame Cindy recieved the insignia of Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and the Queen's Service Order - honours traditionally conferred to the Governor-General.

    More photos

    Dame Cindy Kiro introduces Dr Richard Davies to Queen Elizabeth II

  • Farewell to Governor-General the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy

    Chief Justice the Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias speaking to the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy
    The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy at her swearing in ceremony, speaking to Chief Justice the Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias

    Dame Patsy’s term as Governor-General of New Zealand ended on 28th September 2021. Since being sworn in five years ago to the day, Dame Patsy hosted and attended almost 2000 engagements at both Government House Wellington and Auckland, and across every region in the North and South Island. Dame Patsy and Sir David have also represented New Zealand in 15 countries and welcomed 12 Heads of State to Aotearoa New Zealand.

    Throughout her term, Dame Patsy’s strategic priority was to highlight and celebrate New Zealand’s creativity, innovation, leadership and diversity, through the patronage of organisations, the programme of events she hosted at Government House, and her community engagement.

    Dame Patsy Reddy with Sir Joe Williams
    Dame Patsy with Sir Joseph Williams after his investiture at Manaia Marae

    Dame Patsy and Sir David are great supporters of the arts, and in 2017 Dame Patsy opened Aotearoa New Zealand's 8th entry in Italy's prestigious Venice Biennale: Lisa Reihana: Emissaries. The international contemporary art exhibition attracted around 500,000 visitors to see this internationally acclaimed work, which focuses on the early interactions between the indigenous peoples of the Pacific and European colonisers.

    2018 saw a year of celebrations to mark 125 years since women were given the right to vote in Aotearoa. On Suffrage Day, Dame Patsy hosted two functions that brought together 46 of the 81 living Dames, to celebrate the contributions and achievements of these outstanding wāhine toa. It was the first time such gatherings had been held.

    Dame Patsy Reddy with Farid Ahmed at the Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre
    Dame Patsy Reddy with Farid Ahmed at the Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre

    Sustainability, including our responsibility to be better kaitiaki for our environment, was also a focus of Dame Patsy's term. In 2019, Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted an inaugural hui for the Aotearoa Circle, a partnership between private and public sector leaders working towards solutions to the climate crisis. Dame Patsy was co-patron of the organisation, along with prominent environmentalist and businessman Sir Rob Fenwick. Since its launch, Dame Patsy hosted further events with the Aotearoa Circle to help promote and continue its work.

    Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne with their level 4 Covid bubble
    Dame Patsy, Sir David and Coco with their Covid-19 Alert Level 4 bubble mates, AsDC FLTLT Sylvie Admore and FLTLT Victor Ikini (Photo copyright Mark Smith)
    The global Covid-19 pandemic impacted on Dame Patsy's programme in 2020 and 2021, with some engagements and events shifting to the virtual world. After the first level four nationwide lockdown, Dame Patsy and Sir David met with people working on the frontline - from St John paramedics, to teachers and supermarket staff - thanking them for all they had done during these difficult times.

    In her final year, Dame Patsy became the first sitting Governor-General in living memory to visit Parihaka, the historic Taranaki pā at the centre of peaceful resistance against land confiscations in the 1860s. 

    Although there was much to acknowledge and celebrate during Dame Patsy's term, it was punctuated by immense tragedy, natural disasters and nationwide emergencies. Dame Patsy and Sir David attended memorials for the Whakaari/White Island tragedy and the Christchurch terror attack in 2019. In 2021 Dame Patsy spoke at the ten-year anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake, remembering the many thousands of lives affected by the 6.2 magnitude quake.  

    One of the Governor-General's most important roles is to hold investiture ceremonies for recipients of New Year and Queen's Birthday Honours. In total, Dame Patsy held around 170 such ceremonies, celebrating the achievements and contributions of outstanding and deserving New Zealanders. While the majority of the ceremonies were held at Government House Wellington and Auckland, on occasion they were held as far north as Waitangi and as far south as Bluff.

    Dame Jools and Dame Lynda Topp wearing the korowai received by Dames
    Dame Jools and Dame Lynda Topp wearing Te Iti Kahurangi and Whakaawe Kāpara

    Dame Patsy initiated ways to incorporate more tikanga into the ceremonies. Recipients are now welcomed with a karanga by the kuia, followed by a karakia from the kaumātua.

    Dame Patsy ensured that Dames could receive an equivilent recognition to the accolade recieved by Knights. After receiving their insignia, Dames are given the opportunity to wear one of two korowai - Te Iti Kahurangi and Whakaawe Kāpara. Over time, the whakapapa of the korowai will be imbued with the stories of the women whose contributions have helped to shape Aotearoa's social, cultural and political identity.

     

    Here's a look back to some more significant events from Dame Patsy's term as Governor-General:

    Events at Government House

    Suffrage 125

    Taste of Cultures Dinner

    Waitangi Day 2021

    Artist in Residence - Troy Kingi Album Preview

    Royal Visits

    Visit of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall

    TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

    State Visits

    President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins

    HE Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Federal Republic of Germany

    President of the Republic of Croatia, Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

    Regional Visits

    Northland 2018

    Taranaki 2021

    Southland, Te Rau Aroha Marae 2021

    Overseas Visits

    Le Quesnoy 2018

    2018 visit to Turkey for ANZAC Day

    The naming of HMNZS Aotearoa in Korea

    Commonwealth Games 2018 

    National Events

    Royal Assent for the Rua Kenana Pardon Bill at Maungapohatu 2019

    Whakaari/White Island Commemoration

    New Zealand State Memorial Service for The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

     

     

     

  • The Administrator of the Government

    Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann
    Official photo of The Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann
    In between a Governor-General’s term ending and the appointment of the next Governor-General, there is a need to fulfil the functions of the office during the interregnum. Until the 21st of October 2021, these roles will be undertaken by The Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann, Administrator of the Government.

    The role of Administrator is given to the Chief Justice of New Zealand, with the line of succession following the next most senior members of the New Zealand judiciary.

    The Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann was appointed as Chief Justice in December 2018, taking office on the 13th of March 2019. Dame Helen succeeded Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias who concluded her 20-year term as Chief Justice in 2019.

    Dame Helen Winkelmann is New Zealand’s 13th Chief Justice and is the second woman to occupy this role. She was born and raised in Auckland, studying history and law at University of Auckland before being admitted to the bar in 1985. After becoming the first female partner at Nicholson Gribbin (now DLA Piper), she became a High Court Judge in 2004, Chief High Court Judge in 2010 and was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2015.

    Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias speaking at an event she is hosting as Administrator
    Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias speaking at an event in her capacity as Administrator in 2017.
    There are several instances when the Administrator assumes the roles of Governor-General: during the interregnum, if the Governor-General is outside the country or if they are otherwise unable to perform their duties.

    The Administrator has the same vice-regal powers as the Governor-General. They perform all constitutional functions the Governor-General  would, including attending Executive Council and giving Royal assent to new laws. They may also host events at Government House in the place of the Governor-General.

    The Chief Justice has acted as the Administrator since around 1870. Prior to this, the position was filled by senior military officers from British imperial forces.  

    For more information on The Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann, please visit the Courts of New Zealand website.

  • Launch of the QEII Partners in Protection Programme

    Conservation and sustainability have been a strong focus of Dame Patsy's engagements during her term of office, so it was highly appropriate that her final official engagement at Government House should be to launch a new initiative of the QEII National Trust: the Partners in Protection Programme. The QEII Trust's mission to inspire private landowners to protect and enhance open spaces of ecological and cultural significance has resulted in over 4,700 protected areas across Aotearoa. The Partners in Protection Programme honours the generosity of individuals and families who plan to leave gifts to the Trust in their wills and allows the Trust to thank such supporters in the course of their lifetime, and celebrate their passion for protection, enhancement, and preservation of New Zealand’s land. Hon Kiritapu Allan, Minister of Conservation also spoke at the launch, as well as Bruce Wills, who received an ONZM this year for his services to agriculture and conservation.

    Speech transcript

  • The unveiling of Dame Patsy Reddy's Coat of Arms

    A very special gathering was held in Taupaepae on the 20th September for the unveiling of Dame Patsy’s Coat of Arms, which now sit proudly next to those of Sir Jerry Mateparae. The Coat of Arms  reflects Dame Patsy and Sir David’s support of the arts, so it was very appropriate that the team from Wētā Workshop was tasked with bringing the Armorial Bearings to life. This is the first time the Governor-General's Coat of Arms has not been completely hand-carved, as Wētā Workshop used a milling machine to help capture the fine details.

    Dame Patsy Reddy and crew from Weta Workshop

    The supporters on the Coat of Arms are two tīeke (North Island Saddleback), birds noted for their flute-like whistles and warbles. The badge is a huia standing on a fern frond surrounded by a gold chain and stylised mānuka flowers, which represents the Queen’s Service Order. This is the first time both the tīeke and the huia have appeared on a vice-regal Coat of Arms. It is also the first time a Badge has been granted to a woman in New Zealand.

    The whakatauki on Dame Patsy Reddy's Coat of Arms

    The shield features the comedy and tragedy masks and the Cotises are stylised film strips. There are also two carved pūtōrino, a wooden taonga puoro, in reference to those played by former Government House Artist-in-Residence Horomona Horo. The motto is the whakataukī “He toi whakairo he mana tangata”, which translates to “where there is artistic excellence there is human dignity”. This whakataukī is particularly significant to Dame Patsy as it was also a favourite of her former Kaumatua, the late Professor Piri Sciascia.

    The Coat of Arms was designed by New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary, Phillip O'Shea.

    More photos

    Previous Coats of Arms

    A more detailed description of the Coat of Arms can be found in the link below.

  • Credentials Ceremony 7 September 2021

    Dame Patsy virtually welcomed incoming Diplomats to Government House with the return of Credentials ceremonies via Zoom this afternoon. Presenting their letters of credence today were HE Mrs Felicidade de Sousa Guterres, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, HE Mr Wolfgang-Lukas Strohmayer, Ambassador of Austria, HE Mr Joe Tapera Mhishi, Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe, HE Mr Ronald Recinos, Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala and HE Mr Mario Farrugia Borg, High Commissioner of the Republic of Malta.

    As a result of New Zealand being in Alert Level 3 and with all but two of the Diplomats based in Australia, the ceremony was held via Zoom.

    In usual circumstances, Credentials ceremonies showcase a uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand welcome for Ambassadors and High Commissioners as they begin their posting. The setup of the Zoom version instead offers a lesson on Kiwi ingenuity!

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    Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne on a Zoom call

  • Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal Presentation

    This afternoon at Government House, Dame Patsy awarded Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medals to three extraordinary New Zealanders. Surrounded by family and friends, Constable Scott Higby, Finekata Moataane, and Provisional Sergeant Brett Anthony Neal were recognised for acts of exceptional bravery, and for putting their own lives at risk in the service of others. This was Dame Patsy’s final ceremony as patron of the Royal Humane Society, which has been part of New Zealand’s formal acknowledgement and recognition system for nearly 123 years.

    Dame Patsy Reddy with Constable Scott Higby, Finekata Moataane, and Provisional Sergeant Brett Anthony Neal

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  • Pet Refuge Official Opening

    After visiting the site during its construction last year, Dame Patsy had the privilege to open Pet Refuge’s new space, which can now welcome up to 75 animals including cats, dogs, birds and other small pets. At the opening, Dame Patsy and Sir David had a tour of the site and its facilities, which offers animal enrichment areas, a vet clinic and some cosy cat beds made by students at Unitec.

    A recent study by Women’s Refuge found that 53% of women facing family violence delayed leaving out of fear for the safety of their pets. To answer this need, Pet Refuge was created to give pets temporary accommodation while their owners seek help. 

    The opening was attended by several people instrumental in the creation of Pet Refuge, including Women's Refuge Chief Executive Dr Ang Jury. Women's Refuge will partner with Pet Refuge to ensure pets caught up in family violence can get to safety while their owners do too.

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    Jo Linsday speaks while her dog Louis watches on

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