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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.