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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Government House Kaumatua, Professor Piri Sciascia, ONZM

    Government House's Kaumatua, Professor Piri Sciascia died last Saturday morning. Dame Patsy joined the Prime Minister at his tangi on Monday, and today at his funeral in Porangahau. During his time at Government House Piri was responsible for introducing appropriate elements of tikanga to events, particularly investitures. He was respected and loved by us all and we deeply mourn his passing.

  • Message to the World Holocaust Forum Conference 2020

    Dame Patsy sent this message to the participants at the World Holocaust Forum Conference 2020 taking place at Yad Vashem on 23 January

    Remembering the Holocaust and Fighting Antisemitism

    As your conference on “Remembering the Holocaust and Fighting Antisemitism” convenes, I am reminded of my visit to Yad Vashem in October 2017.  My reactions were very much like those of the many thousands of others who have gone to Yad Vashem.  Although I knew the experience would be a harrowing one, nevertheless it was personally challenging to take in the Museum’s narrative of the events leading up to the Holocaust and then its horrifying implementation.  Knowing that New Zealand had denied entry to some desperate Jewish refugees in the 1930s, I felt deeply saddened by my country’s own small part in these grim events.  I was glad of the opportunity to pay my respects afterwards by laying a wreath in commemoration of the Holocaust victims.  As Patron of the Holocaust Centre in New Zealand this was a particularly important aspect of my visit to Israel.

    The Holocaust is one of the greatest tragedies of modern history.  The systematic execution of millions of innocent people is a terrible reminder of what can happen if extreme ideology and hatred is left unchecked.  We must all remain vigilant.  New Zealand has this year experienced the devastating effects of hatred which culminated in the terror attacks on mosques in Christchurch.  This has further strengthened our commitment to standing with our international partners against hatred and intolerance.  To this end, we are ever committed to our friends in Israel.

    In our own day, it is for national leaders and their people around the world to stand firm against every form of intolerance wherever it may be found.  It is only through a deep understanding of the lessons of history that we can ensure atrocities such as the Holocaust never happen again.

    May your conference reinforce the message of diversity and inclusion to which we in New Zealand are firmly committed.  With all best wishes.

    Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

    Governor-General of New Zealand



  • Royal Assent for the Rua Kenana Pardon Bill at Maungapohatu

    Dame Patsy travelled to Maungapohatu, a remote Tuhoe settlement in the Ureweras, where she gave Royal Assent to the Rua Kenana Pardon Bill, which in addition to pardoning Rua Kenana, also conveyed an apology from the Crown.

    Rua Kenana was a religious leader and established a community at Maungapohatu with his followers. In 1916, armed police arrived at Maungapohatu to arrest Rua Kenana on charges relating to the sale of liquor. Two of the local people were killed by the police, and Rua Kenana and another man were arrested. After a lengthy trial, all the charges against Rua Kenana were dropped, apart from the charge of 'moral resistance'. He was convicted on that charge and imprisoned. On his release, he returned to Maungapohatu to find that many of his followers had drifted away and what had been a flourishing community was a shadow of its former self.

    The Rua Kenana Pardon Act restores the mana and reputation of Rua Kenana. The event at Maungapohatu was attended by some of his many descendants.

    Image Gallery

    Speech transcript


  • Waitangi Day reception 2020

    The ballot invitations for next year's Waitangi Day garden reception were posted today (20 December)

    Waitangi Day 2020 information

  • Stakeholders and suppliers reception 2019

    'Come a little bit closer" Dame Patsy urged.

    There's no point in giving a speech thanking everyone for their help over the year if everyone's way down the back of the ballroom!

    One of the last functions for 2019 was a thank you to the many organisations and businesses who played a role in the successful delivery of the Governor-General's programme during the year.

    As Dame Patsy said, it takes a very large village of people to keep Government House in tip top condition and the many events running smoothly. Thank you to everyone for their help and support during 2019.

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  • Visit to Eden Garden

    The weather was ideal for Dame Patsy's visit to Government House Auckland's next door neighbour Eden Garden.

    Once a quarry, thanks to the efforts of the Eden Garden Society and a host of volunteers the site is now a magnificent garden featuring some wonderful plant collections, including a host of very impressive bromeliads. There's also a butterfly breeding programme to help increase numbers of our native butterflies.

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    Image of dame Patsy and a Yellow Admiral butterfly

  • Tuia 250 Voyage

    Dame Patsy visited the flotilla taking part in the Tuia 250 Voyage when they berthed in Welington Harbour.

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    Image of the replica 'Endeavour'

  • Official opening of SPCA Hobsonville Centre

    The SPCA has an impressive brand new centre in Hobsonville, purpose-built to serve the needs of the organisation and their animal charges. It is also intended to be self-supporting, with a Doggy Day-care centre and Veterinary services in the same building.

    Dame Patsy officially opened the building today and had a tour of the facilities.


    Dame Patsy and Sir David touring the Doggy Day-care Centre
    Dame Patsy with SPCA Hobsonville staff
    Dame Patsy and SPCA kitten Nigella
  • NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards

    Last night Dame Patsy spoke at the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards and presented the Supreme Award to Little Yellow Bird, which supplies corporate uniforms and ethical clothes to businesses, while providing ethical employment and education opportunities for workers in developing countries.

    Speech transcript


  • Sir George Elliott Scholarships 2019

    The Sir George Elliot Scholarships for tertiary study are awarded to high-achieving students who have overcome challenging personal circumstances. This year's recipients are Zahra Habibi, of Mangere College, who arrived as a non English-speaking refugee from Afghanistan in 2015 and has achieved remarkable scholastic results; Nellina Vaovasa of Auckland Girls Grammar, who is also a high achieving student and a leader in the school and her community; and Sarah Poulter, of St Mary's College, who has overcome significant medical injury to become an outstanding student. As always, we were hugely impressed by these young women and wish them all the very best in the years ahead.

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    Dame Patsy presenting the Scholarship to Zahra Habibi
    Dame Patsy presenting the Scholarship to Nellina Vaovasa
    Dame Patsy with Scholarship recipient Sarah Poulter
  • HM Queen Elizabeth - Message for Erebus 40th Anniversary

  • The 40th Anniversary of the Erebus Accident

    Dame Patsy hosted a moving service at Government House in Auckland to mark the 40th anniversary of the Erebus accident.

    There were muffled sobs from assembled family members of the 257 people killed in the accident as the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologised on behalf of the Government of New Zealand and Dame Therese Walsh apologised on behalf of Air New Zealand.

    Musician Warren Maxwell, an alumna of the 'Artists to Antarctica' programme played his composition 'Te Paerangi Ataata - Skysong'

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    Image of The Prime Minister looking on as Dame Therese Walsh apologises on behalf of Air New Zealand



  • Three days in Auckland

    mage of Dame Patsy's favourite 'St. Matthew: lightening'
    There was an arty undertone to Dame Patsy's stay in Auckland this week.

    First stop was Auckland Art Gallery for the exhibition "A Place to Paint: Colin McCahon in Auckland"

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    Later that evening, Dame Patsy spoke at Zonta International's centeneray celebrations and helped them launch their "Light the Bridge Orange' initiative.

    One of the highlights of the evening was the performance of the Auckland Girls' Choir, featuring girls aged from 9-16 from 25 schools across Auckland

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    Tuesday began with a visit to The FoodBowl in Mangere, a business accelerator supporting established and new food and beverage manufacturers.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David got to try some healthy turmeric and activated charcoal shots and while the non-alcoholic gin was met with scepticism at first, but proved to be a refreshing drink.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and guests
    That evening Dame Patsy hosted a reception for the Auckland City Mission, thanking the Mission for their work with Auckland's most vulnerable people. Guests were asked to bring a donation of food or other items with everything going to the Mission food bank for distribution to clients.

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    On Wednesday, Dame Patsy and Sir David headed to Titirangi to the McCahon House Museum  

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    The day ended with a trip to cast glass artist Ann Robinson's workshop

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Ann Robinson

  • HRH The Prince of Wales Waitangi Speech

    Scroll down for audio of the speech delivered by HRH The Prince of Wales at Waitangi.

    This was recorded live so please be aware that there is background noise

    Image of Prince Charles at Waitangi

  • Visit of TRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall 2019

    TRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were officially welcomed to New Zealand with a ceremony at Government House in Auckland.

    The Duchess of Cornwall returned in the afternoon for a reception for the global movement Women of the World.

    The day's activities were rounded off with an official reception where the Royal couple mixed with notable New Zealanders.

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  • Rhodes Scholar 2020 announcement

    Today Dame Patsy hosted the Rhodes Scholarship committee meeting and candidate interviews at Government House in Wellington.

    There were 8 candidates and Dame Patsy said the committee was impressed by their enthusiasm and ability.

    The three Rhodes Scholars selected to study at Oxford in 2020 are Isabella Lenihan-Ikin of Victoria University, KDee Ma'ia'i of University of Auckland and Oliver Pooke of University of Otago.

    Image of Dame Patsy and the 2020 Rhodes scholars

  • The Frances Clarke Memorial Awards 2019

    This morning Dame Patsy hosted a high tea for the Wellington Down Syndrome Association's annual Frances Clarke Memorial Awards,  which recognise and encourage the special achievements of people born with Down syndrome in the greater Wellington region.

    This year's award winners were Hinerangi Collins-Mohi, Mithu Sathiyaseeian and Sue McFarlane, who received the Community Service Award.

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    Dame Patsy and Hinerangi Collins-Mohi, winner of a Frances Clarke Memorial Award
    Dame Patsy with Frances Clarke Memorial Award Winner, Mithu Sathiyaseeian
    Dame Patsy and Jacob Dombroski with Sue McFarlane, winner of the Community Service Award
  • Credentials ceremonies, 12 November, PM

    This afternoon Dame Patsy received the credentials of the Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, HE Mr Edgardo Valdés López; the Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, HE Mrs Victoria Francolino; the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus, HE Dr Ruslan Esin and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain, HE Dr Mohamed Ghassan Mohamed Adnan Shaikho.

    The ceremony included a powhiri and inspection of a Guard of Honour, followed by the presentation of credentials to Dame Patsy.

    Image gallery

    Image of Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba  HE Mr Edgardo Valdés López
    Image of Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay HE Mrs Victoria Francolino
    Image of Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus HE Dr Ruslan Esin
    Image of Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain HE Dr Mohamed Ghassan Mohamed Adnan Shaikho

  • Credentials Ceremony, 12 November 2019 am

    This morning Dame Patsy received the credentials of the Ambassador of Switzerland, HE Mr Michael Winzap, the Ambassador of Mexico, HE Mr Alfredo Rogerio Perez Bravo, the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, HE Mrs Dina Farouk El Sahy, and the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, HE Mr Lisualdo Menezes Coimbra Gaspar.

    The ceremony included a powhiri and inspection of a Guard of Honour, followed by the presentation of credentials to Dame Patsy.

    Image Gallery

  • Inaugural presentation of ceremonial hieke to WO1 Mark Mortiboy

    Defence chiefs wear ceremonial korowai that are passed on when a new incumbant takes up the role. Now Warrant Officers of the Defence Force have a harakeke hieke (rain cloak), woven especially by WO1 Robert Jobe.

    This afternoon the hieke was blessed and then presented for the first time to WO1 Mark Mortiboy. Chief of Defence, Air Marshall Kevin Short and Dame Patsy did the honours.


  • Papawai Marae Wananga

    Today Dame Patsy attended a wananga at Papawai Marae, near Greytown, in honour of Sir Kim Workman, who was knighted earlier this year for his contributions to prison reform.

    Papawai Marae's national significance was recognised this year with its addition to the National Heritage List as a waahi tupuna, the first marae to recieve such recognition. In the late 19th century, it was the centre of a thriving community, a centre of cultural knowledge, and the host of two sessions of the Maori Parliament.

    Today's wananga reflected that history, with its focus on nationhood and identity. The speakers included Dame Patsy, Sir Kim Workman, Sir John Clarke, Hon Christopher Finlayson and Sir Tipene O'Regan.

    Speech transcript                                                          Image Gallery

  • Dame Patsy at HERE: Kupe to Cook

    On Monday night,  Dame Patsy spoke at Transparency International's AGM in Wellington. Transparency International is a global civil society organisation that works to counter corruption.

    Image of Dame Patsy speaks at the AGM of Transparency International

    Then on Wednesday, she and Sir david made the trip to Porirua to visit the "HERE: Kupe to Cook" exhibition at Pataka Art + Museum in Porirua. The exhibition tells the story of the Maori, Polynesian and European navigators who were the first to come here and features art by leading contemporary artists, including Dame Robin White, Greg Semu, Michel Tuffery and Rachael Rakena. The exhibition is on until 24 November

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    Dame Patsy observing an art work

  • Florence Nightingale Medal

    Congratulations to Felicity Gapes who received her Florence Nightingale medal at Government House this afternoon

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    Read about Felicity's work

    Image of Felicity gapes being presented with her certificate and a framed portrait of Florence Nightingale

  • Good Bitches Baking Celebration of Kindness

    Happy Birthday to Good Bitches Baking, who came to Government House to mark five years of service to New Zealanders with a celebration of kindness.

    Founders Nicole Murray and Marie Fitzpatrick have marshalled a troupe of volunteer bakers from all around New Zealand who bake for people who are going through a rough time. Nic and Marie estimate far in excess of half a million moments of sweetness have been distributed since they started and the organisation continues to grow.

    Dame Patsy got in on the baking action by asking Government House chefs Yann Robert and Vicki Young to bake a special cake. Yes, that is a chocolate rolling pin and beater on top!

    Thanks to all those Good Bitches all around New Zealand who keep demonstrating that kindness matters.

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    Image of the top of the cake

    Image of Dame Patsy and Good Bitches Baking founders Nicole Murray and Marie Fitzpatrick cutting the cake


  • Breastscreen Auckland-St Mark's Breast Centre opening

    Dame Patsy officiated at the opening of a new facility for Breastscreen Auckland and St Marks Breast Centre following a Powhiri led by Ngāti Whatua Orakei. The special purpose facility has been designed to suit the specific needs of its female clients. Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in NZ and screening is available free to all women aged between 40 and 69. The survival rate for women whose cancer is detected through mammogram screening is over 92%.

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  • Official visit to Japan

    Dame Patsy and Sir David have been in Tokyo, where they represented New Zealand at the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, the 126th monarch of Japan. This was followed by a Court Banquet at the Imperial Palace. Yesterday they visited Nezu Museum to see some of its significant collection of pre-modern Asian art. At Waseda University, Dame Patsy spoke to students about female leadership in New Zealand, and in the evening, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a banquet hosted by the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.

    Image Gallery

    Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a court banquet in Tokyo
    In the Nezu Museum garden
  • The Graeme Dingle Foundation Excellence Awards 2019

    Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David joined guests at the annual Graeme Dingle Foundation Excellence Awards to celebrate the achievements of young graduates of the Foundation's youth development programmes - and to acknowledge the mentors, volunteers and leaders who delivered the programmes to over 27,000 students this year.

    The award winners' personal accounts highlight the transformative and empowering aspects of the Foundation's programmes.

    Dame Patsy presented the MYND Youth Achievement Award to Dontae Marino.

    Speech transcript                             Image Gallery

    Dame Patsy with Dontae Marino Winner of MYND Youth Achievement award
  • Crimestoppers 10th anniversary reception

    Crimestoppers had plenty to celebrate as they marked their 10th anniversary at Government House in Wellington. Displays offered an insight into exactly how much crime the anonymous tipline has had a hand in solving and their work isn't over yet.

    Based on a UK initiative, Crimestoppers commitment to anonymity for the people who contact it has never been shaken. Guests heard from a number of speakers about the organisations origins and the incredible work it does passing on information to the Police and other agencies.

    Inaugural chair John Perham was acknowledged for his massive contribution to the organisation over the last decade.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Crimestoppers inaugural chairman John Perham

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with members of the Crimestoppers board - Howard Broad, Megan McKenna, Alan Freeth, John Perham, Richard Chambers and Fraser Callaway

  • Tuia Welcome for European Ships

    On Tuesday in Gisborne, the Tuia 250 flotilla was enlarged with the arrival of European vessels: HMB Edeavour, R Tucker Thompson and Spirit of New Zealand. 

    This will be the start of the flotilla's journey around New Zealand, and a journey into the history of Aotearoa. The presence of the waka hourua Haunui and Ngahiraka Mai Taiwhiti, and the Tahitian va'a Fa'afaite will highlight the voyaging traditions of Polynesia and iwi Maori, and encourage the telling of the iwi stories of encounter with Europeans and the impact of colonisation.

    This week the rebalancing of history was celebrated in cultural expression at the Tairawhiti Arts Festival and in the new sculptures adjacent to the early 20th century Cook Memorial; and the memorial to Te Maro on the hill above.

    Speech transcript            Image Gallery

  • Tuia 250-Encounters commemorations in Gisborne

    Yesterday the Tuia 250-Encounters commemorations commenced in Gisborne. The commemorations celebrate the Polynesian voyaging tradition, the beginning of Polynesian settlement of Aotearoa, 750 years ago, and the meeting of Maori and Pakeha on land, when the crew of the Endeavour ventured ashore at Turanga (Gisborne) 250 years ago.

    The crew of the waka were met by a large crowd, including a delegation from Tahiti and proceeded around the waterfront to be received in a pohiri.

    Another haka pohiri and hakari followed at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae, where the Tahitian delegation was welcomed and performed.

    A busy day concluded with a visit to the theatre to see the world premiere of Hapai Productions' Witi's Wahine, based on female characters in Witi Ihimaera's fiction. The performances by Mere Boynton, Roimata Fox, Ani-Piki Tuari, Ngapaki Moetara were outstanding, reflecting the sure hand of Nancy Brunning's direction.

    Image Gallery    Image Gallery                                      Speech transcript

  • Katherine Mansfield House and Garden re-opening reception

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception celebrating the successful conclusion of a major refurbishment of the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden.

    The project saw the roof replaces, an upgrade of the heating and ventilation systems, the installation of a kitchenb plus a refresh of the interior.

    Guests included contractors, furniture experts and volunteers who had all played a part in the restoration.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with members of the board and staff

    Image of the restoration and refurbishment project taking place


  • Opening of Defence House

    The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake made the building that housed Defence and the Ministry of Defence uninhabitable. Today Dame Patsy and Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence, formally opened a new Defence House by unveiling the signage. Dame Patsy also cut a ribbon at the front entrance.

    The building, which is behind Parliament buildings, has been gutted, earthquake-strengthened to 100 per cent of New Building Standard, increased in size by nearly 9000m2, refurbished and provided with a new facade.

    In her speech, Dame Patsy recalled the times in the 19th century when Governors took on the operational responsibilities of a Commander-in-Chief. 

    The opening concluded with the ceremonial cutting of a cake by Dame Patsy and Chief of Defence, Air Marshall Kevin Short.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery





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